PHILADELPHIA (WNCN) – There were more than a few laughs at North Carolina’s press conference before their Elite 8 game against Notre Dame.
Top-seeded North Carolina (31-6) will face sixth-seeded Notre Dame (24-11) Sunday with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
Sitting next to five of his players, coach Roy Williams and the Heels answered questions about their previous meetings with the Irish this season.
Williams got after after a member of the media when they mispronounced the name of Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste. It was pronounced as “Ogoost.”
“Is his name Ogoost?” Williams asked. “Because if it is, I’ve been mispronouncing the name for three years. Scare me to death.”
Then Tar Heel Theo Pinson busted into the room, took to the stage and Williams dropped his signature “dadgum.”
“Where’s my chair at?” Pinson asked. “Where’ my name at?”
The room erupted with laughter until Pinson finally left the stage.
“You guys don’t have to put up with him. I have to put up with him every dadgum day. You’re doing a nice job, Theo. I appreciate you. Like I told you, I never have to congratulate him. He congratulates himself. I’ve been coaching 28 years I’ve never had one friggin’ player walk up in the middle of a damn press conference,” Williams said.
The Heels face the Irish after demolishing Indiana Friday night, 101-86.
“We did some very good things last night. I wasn’t pleased with our defense in the first half, but other than that, I thought we did some really good things,” Williams said.
Senior Brice Johnson touched on Williams’ reference to defense by saying “defense wins championships.”
Johnson said he knows the Irish will make runs during the game that the Heels must withstand.
“We can’t let up on them because they’re a very good team and they will make runs during the game,” Johnson said.
After meeting twice this season, Marcus Paige said it doesn’t give either team an advantage. Notre Dame has won three of the last four meetings in the series.
“I would say it’s an advantage, but they also have the advantage of playing us twice as well. So I think it kind of cancels out,” Paige said.
Notre Dame won in South Bend on Feb. 6 and Carolina won, 78-47, in the ACC Tournament.
Paige had the hot hand against Indiana Friday. He finished with 21 points, including six three-pointers.
This is UNC’s 26th trip to the Elite 8 and first since 2012.
The ACC went 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament Friday night and is guaranteed a spot in the national championship game.
The winner of the Virginia/Syracuse game will play with winner of the UNC game in the Final Four.
The Tar Heels and Irish play at 8:49 p.m. on TBS.