Four wins in four days.
That's what North Carolina must do to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and earn an automatic NCAA bid. While a cool storyline, it's probably not realistic considering that no league team has ever won four games in four days to capture the title -- and the defending national champion Tar Heels haven't won more than two in a row since December.
"So what if it hasn't been done before?" Williams insisted Monday. "That doesn't mean it can't be done."
Williams makes a valid point, but it's safe to assume the Tar Heels (16-15) are playing for a berth in the 32-team National Invitation Tournament when the ACC Tournament opens Thursday in Greensboro, N.C. Williams, whose teams at Kansas and UNC have won at least one NCAA game for 20 straight seasons, has never coached in the NIT.
That's the least of Williams' concerns, however, as 10th-seeded UNC meets seventh-seeded Georgia Tech at the Greensboro Coliseum in the third of four opening-round games. Williams made it clear after Saturday night's 32-point loss at Duke that his team needed to "change its behavior" if it wanted any chance to win another game this year.
If that behavior hasn't changed in four months, can it change in four days? UNC also failed to have a player earn all-conference honors for the first time in league history.
"It shouldn't be me telling them 100 times, or 200 times, the same thing over and over. They can hear me, they nod, they say they understand -- well, you have to change your behavior," Williams patiently explained for what seemed like the 100th or 200th time.
"I guess it's like a little kid that you say no, no, no, no. Well, eventually they have to change their behavior. You are supposed to box out, I shouldn't still be yelling at you 31 games into the season. I shouldn't be yelling you've got to get to the board. If you are a point guard, you are supposed to get back on defensive balance. Two, three or four times during the Duke game Saturday I am still saying those kind of those things.
"There's only so many times you can say something. The other person has to hear you, has to understand it and has to change his behavior."
Duke, of course, rarely has to worry about its behavior.
The Blue Devils are considered the tournament favorite and a favorite for the fourth No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tourney. Maryland, looking to win its first ACC tourney since 2004, Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech should all be in the Big Dance, but Georgia Tech probably needs to win at least two games in the conference tournament.
"Our team has played well all year," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
"We've just lost a few games. We've been a pretty consistent team outside a couple bad (games). I am really proud of my guys. They've been a really good team."
Duke beat FSU in last year's championship game. The Seminoles, one of four teams to earn a first-round bye, play Friday night against the winner of the Clemson-North Carolina State game. Head coach Leonard Hamilton wants his team to embrace its tournament opportunities.
Over the past two years, only one team (Duke) has more conference wins than FSU's 20. Likewise, Duke is the only other ACC team with a winning record on the road during that span -- the Seminoles and the Blue Devils are both 9-7 over the last two years.
"Hopefully that gives us a little more motivation to understand that to stay in these positions you need to take advantage of them and this is an opportunity for us now to put all the mistakes we made throughout the year behind us, coming in here now, start over and try to win an ACC Tournament Championship," Hamilton said.
"We got there last year and hopefully we can do it again."