It's no secret Roy Williams doesn't like NC State. While much of the college basketball world and fans younger than 35-40 think UNC-Duke is the primary rivalry, there was a time when the UNC-NC State game held great sway in the state of North Carolina. After all many UNC fans in my and Doc's age bracket are very familiar with this refrain:
Duke is puke, Wake is fake.
But the team I hate is NC State.
This was the era during which Williams attended UNC and eventually became an assistant coach. The 1970s and through the early 1980s, NC State's basketball program went to Final Fours and won two titles. There was also a point where the Wolfpack won nine straight versus the Tar Heels. So yes, the NC State game might mean slightly more to Williams than the Duke game.
If you haven't blocked it out, on February 24th, 2014, UNC lost to NC State 59-46 at home. It was the first home loss to NCSU during the Williams era and the fewest number of points scored by UNC in the Dean Smith Center. UNC shot 37% for the game, was 5-9 at the line, got outrebounded 28-27 and scored 0.77 points per possession. That was UNC's fourth worst offensive efficiency of the Williams era and coming from a team that ended up at 116 for the season.
In addition to the way UNC played was the fact Roy Williams went on one of his famous rants about fan support three days prior. After UNC rolled Georgia Tech the previous Saturday, Williams made a point to talk about fan support and issued a challenge for the fans to show up for the NC State game and be a factor in the game. The fans obliged and the game tipped off with a "Duke game" like atmosphere. UNC's response was less than ideal and ended up being a bit embarrassing for Williams to have called the fans out only to watch his team stink up the gym for most of the night.
Naturally Williams was asked about if he has mentioned last year's game to the players in the week run-up to Saturday's contest. The answer is "yes" and according to Marcus Paige more than once.
Roy: Our record was better than their record last year and they came in here and whacked us in our own building.— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) January 15, 2016
Roy on if he brings up last year's game: I make sure they remember the dadgum thing.— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) January 15, 2016
Roy Williams: "If we can't get enthused to play North Carolina State, I've got the wrong group of guys."— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) January 15, 2016
Paige says Roy brought up last year's game multiple times during practice. It was the fewest points UNC has ever scored in the Smith Center— Brian Barbour (@tarheelblog) January 15, 2016
Generally, Williams is not one to talk about past games, historical streaks and what not to his team. The fact he has raised it with the team all week long and "multiple times" according to Paige is telling. Not only does he really hate NC State but he wants a reckoning for what happened almost 11 months ago.
Given some of the Wolfpack struggles this season and Roy's temperament a repeat of the 42-13 first half in 2008 might not be far fetched.