Roy Williams: 'This may be my favorite team of all time'
Following the contest, coach Roy Williams took the microphone and addressed the crowd about his team.
"They have been the most phenomenal group of young men," Williams said to the packed stands. "This may be my favorite team of all time."
Certainly high praise coming from a man who has coached numerous NBA stars and won two national titles. Williams didn't stop there, outlining the importance of the contest against Syracuse for reasons other than just remaining first in the ACC standings.
"I don't know that I've felt as much stress over a regular-season game as I did tonight," he admitted. "I just wanted Brice (Johnson) and Marcus (Paige) and Joel (James) so much to win their last home game. To me it was more important than any game I've ever been involved with."
Williams' emotional connection to this particular group stems from the turmoil the team has overcome in the past few seasons. The school has been rocked by academic scandal still being investigated by the NCAA. There was also the impermissible benefits case from 2014 that affected the eligibility of former Tar Heels P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.
"Last three of four years around here has been pretty difficult with all the stuff and all the junk," Williams said. "These guys have made me be able to live. I felt like we were stuck on an island by ourselves. You could be the favorite senior group I've ever had."
This group has never made it past the NCAA regional semifinal of the tournament. A deep run in this year's edition would certainly cap a memorable season and probably cement their status as Coach Williams' favorite team.