NCAA Tournament: Kansas is still very special to North Carolina coach Roy Williams
"I took over a healthy program," Self said. "A lot of times when you want to change the culture is when you take over an unhealthy program. There was nothing wrong with our culture, it was great. Coach Williams and his staff had done a remarkable job for the 15 years they were there. ... He's made my job better, there's no question about that."
North Carolina, meanwhile, won the national title in 2005 and again in 2009, and is in the regional finals for the sixth time under Williams. The Tar Heels are a No. 1 seed for a record 14th time.
"It's something that you dream about all the time, getting yourself in this position," Williams said.
If only he didn't have to play Kansas.
This is only the second time Williams has faced the Jayhawks since he left Lawrence, Kan., and he has no interest in doing it more often. Jayhawks fans have, if not forgiven Williams, come to accept his departure, and Self said he thinks it would be a "great, great series" if Kansas and North Carolina would meet on a regular basis.
But Williams gave a quick, emphatic, "No," when asked if he'd be open to the idea.
"Too emotional for me. That's the bottom line," Williams said. "I tell my kids, what you would like to have in your life is someone who, when you hear their name, it makes you smile. That means that you've had a very positive impact on somebody. And when somebody says Allen Fieldhouse to me, that's exactly what I think about, all those positive thoughts, and I don't want to go in there as the coach of the opposing team."
Doing it on a neutral court will be hard enough.
"For 15 years, Kansas was my favorite basketball program of all time, and my second favorite was North Carolina," Williams said. "Now my favorite basketball program of all time is North Carolina, and my second is Kansas."
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