This is not the first time Roy Williams has expressed his feeling on the NC State game. In 2008 he told the media after UNC drubbed the Pack in Chapel Hill(the infamous UNC fans cheered when NCSU scored game) that he'd rather beat NC State than eat. In fact he told that team none of them were eating postgame unless they beat NC State. During his Wednesday press conference, Roy was asked(again) about what the game means to him.
"It’s always meant a great deal to me. I’ve gone on record as saying that I struggled with them. I was a freshman in college and some old high school buddies that I had played baseball and basketball with were over at State and they gave me enough crap for the rest of my life. I didn’t appreciate it and I didn’t like it. So I’ve always had the feeling that this is an important game. It’s North Carolina against North Carolina State. You know, every kid grows up and Mom and Dad plants seeds about who they’re going to cheer for and they have an influence. I didn’t have that influence.
"I had my high school coach who thought North Carolina was great and then some other people put us down anyway they could to me and I took offense to that. It’s a childish way to react but it’s stuck with me and I’ve always thought that it was a fantastic rivalry. I was in school here finishing up my time when they won nine in a row, I think that’s right, when David Thompson was over there. I think they beat us nine times in a row and that bothered me. So again, during my formative years, they were beating us up too much to make me happy."
One of the interesting things about Roy is since he grew up in North Carolina and graduated from UNC, his experience with the in-state rivalries lines up with what most UNC fans who grew up in the state experience. Here he talks about having friends who were NCSU fans talking smack to him and being at UNC during NCSU's nine game win streak over UNC in the 1970s. Later, Roy went on to join Dean Smith's staff and was a part of many UNC-NCSU games through the 1980s that were highly charged not to mention relevant.
Needless to say Roy Williams takes this game seriously, possibly as much or more than the Duke game. Of course the UNC-Duke game is propelled by the force of its own momentum at this point. UNC-NCSU has been dominated by the Heels for most of the last 20 years which means Roy probably has to drive the point home with the team a little more. Based on last season, it appears to have worked. Harrison Barnes took the game very seriously in both outings last season. John Henson is famous for talking smack on Twitter in the offseason when NC State is losing in football.
There is little doubt in my mind UNC's head coach and players will be plenty ready for this game.