Katz blog from UNC's Madness


ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz was at North Carolina's Midnight Madness festivities and filed a live blog from the Dean Dome.

Opening Impressions
Let the record show that at 11:44 p.m. Friday, Roy Williams got down and did a one-minute jig with his rather loose North Carolina Tar Heels and assistants Steve Robinson (the real dancer on the staff), C.B. McGrath (the more bookish of the crew) and a rather stiff but congenial Joe Holladay.

Senior Jawad Williams, who has seen the real lows in this program and the climb back to a possible ultimate high later this season, pulled Williams and the staff on the court.

Talent Show
Late Night with Roy started as a tradition at Kansas to get the team ready for a grueling season. Williams carried the stunts to Chapel Hill and has certainly loosened up this proud, but at times staid, program.

The skits, which involved the players and the members of the North Carolina dance team, started off a bit slow but picked up as midnight crept closer.

Give the Tar Heels credit for their originality. They had a number of dance routines, calling on Michael Jackson's hit "Bad" and "Saturday Night Fever" to get them in the mood for the main event. Jackie Manuel even did a moonwalk (and he was pretty good, although he had to do it in socks). Williams was pure disco with an Afro, doing his best John Travolta, while James Madison transfer Wes Miller had the crowd rolling (especially coach Williams) with one of the best impersonations of the Carolina coach that has ever been done. Williams reminded the crowd that he could get Miller back at practice Saturday morning, but he couldn't contain himself since the performance, complete with a jacket toss and a forceful and rather animated run off the court, was so true to form.

But the best bit might have been a top 10 list of why the other ACC teams won't be in St. Louis with the Tar Heels, run down by junior Sean May and freshman Quentin Thomas. The highlights were: No. 8 (Clemson) -- 0-50 (that's the streak here in Chapel Hill); No. 5 (Maryland) -- Our coach Williams is better than your coach Williams; and the fan favorite... (Duke) -- With Deng in Chicago and Livingston in L.A., Coach K might wish he took the Lakers job. And in parentheses it said, "They asked Roy first."

Jawad Williams hit four 3s in the first five minutes of the scrimmage. Williams consistently is the forgotten man on this squad. He could end up being the most valuable. He has emerged as a leader and didn't let his ego get in the way of the hyped trio of Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants and Sean May.

Performance Anxiety?
By the way, the best dancer of the night, by far, was Thomas. The freshman threw up a big-time brick for his first shot tonight but he has the moves down. It's rather odd that he would be nervous about taking a shot but not dancing in front of thousands of folks.

Hello, Newbie
Sean May gave Marvin Williams a "welcome to school" block (although he was called for the foul). Williams, the heralded newcomer in the ACC, made a free throw. He's playing a bit passively, but that will likely change when the real games begin.

Closing Thoughts
First impressions -- this team is extremely loose and, so far, doesn't look selfish. They want to have plenty of fun this season and, of course, end up in St. Louis.

But they're a long way from being a title contender. Some teams look ready to go on Oct. 15. North Carolina still has plenty to get in sync. This is just a snapshot. The potential is clearly in place, but don't be surprised if a player like Jawad Williams becomes more important than Marvin Williams because of his experience, desire and overall passion to go out as a champ.

He actually looked like the leader in this group, from the skits to the dancing to 3s he rained down at the Dean Dome.

The Tar Heels will get plenty of face time during the Maui Invitational over Thanksgiving.

Lights out from Chapel Hill.