Roy Williams soon will go into the history books as having coached a 2,000-win college basketball program.
The question is, which one will get there first: North Carolina or Kansas?
The Tar Heels began the season with 1,984 victories, four behind Kentucky - which became the first program to reach 2,000 on Dec.21 - and 14 wins ahead of the Jayhawks, who Williams coached in 1988-2003.
However, North Carolina's multitude of injuries, bad shooting, inconsistent defense, questionable stretches of effort and 13 losses have helped the Jayhawks catch up. As a result, North Carolina (14-13, 3-9 ACC) sits at 1,998 victories and hopes that there are two left on this season's schedule. No.1 Kansas had 1,996 wins heading into Monday night's game against Oklahoma.
With the NCAA tournament all but a pipe dream at this point, Williams said reaching 2,000 wins this season "would mean a great deal" to the Tar Heels.
"Hopefully we're going to get there at some point in our lives, I guess," he said. "But I would love to get it done here, down the stretch. There's no question that the easiest way to have that happen is work as hard as we can in practice, try to be more effective, and then try to take it from the practice floor to the court on game night. And then hopefully some good things will happen for us."
If neither team reaches the mark over their final four regular-season games, Kansas might have an extra advantage in terms of postseason opportunities to rack up more wins. The Jayhawks are a Final Four favorite, while the Tar Heels likely need to win a couple of more games just to reach the National Invitation Tournament.
"There's no question that I have the satisfaction of what we did for 15 years at Kansas, and I feel a very small, small part of it,'' Williams said. "... I do love that place, and love what happened there - but I'd just like to get one more (victory) right now before I feel like I'm going to croak or something."
Favors a factor: One of the reasons Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors posted his highest scoring (21 points) and rebounding (18) totals of the season during Saturday's loss to Maryland was his ability to finish the game with only one foul, a rarity this season.
If the Yellow Jackets forward can stay on the court by avoiding the whistle, he could be a serious factor in the postseason. Although Favors has yet to foul out of a game, he has finished with four fouls on six occasions and with three fouls on 11 others. Favors is averaging 26 minutes a game.
"The foul issue has been a real concern of mine," coach Paul Hewitt said. "I've talked to people, I've even talked to John Clougherty (the ACC's coordinator of men's basketball officials), about what we can do. And obviously, Derrick has got to - as he gets more experience, he understands how to avoid ticky-tack fouls. ... When Derrick stays out of foul trouble, he's a game-changing player.
Icy policy: After having record snowfalls postpone one ACC game this season and affect several others, associate commissioner for basketball operations Karl Hicks fully expects the league's athletic directors to examine the conference's inclement weather policies.
"It will definitely come up in the spring meetings - and it should," he said.
The biggest issue this season wasn't the Feb. 10 Virginia-at-Maryland game, which was postponed, but the Feb. 7 North Carolina-at-Maryland game, which was played as scheduled even after a blizzard dumped more than 2 feet of snow on Washington.
Under ACC policies, teams must be in town the night before games, which will be played as long as the teams, referees and personnel needed to run the game and arena are on hand.
At the directive of the ACC, the Tar Heels traveled to Maryland two days early, but the weather was so bad that the electricity flickered in the team hotel and the North Carolina bus was snowed in. The only reason the team didn't run out of food was because a wedding at the hotel was canceled. STAFF WRITER KEN TYSIAC CONTRIBUTED.