Four "freaking" and one freakin' bad one.

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams' frustration after his team lost yet another close game, 77-76 at Notre Dame on Monday night, boiled over in his postgame news conference when he let an F-bomb slip. He quickly apologized.

"You've got two choices: You can compete your butt off, or you can get in the fetal position and curl up and start crying," Williams said. "I'm not going to freaking do that. We're going to f---ing – excuse me, I apologize to everybody, everybody, everybody – we're going to freaking compete. And that's what we're going to do. We play Saturday. You can feel sorry for yourself, and (if) you feel sorry for yourself, you're going to do that the rest of your freaking life.

"And I apologize. I don't know what I'm doing right now the way I'm cursing."

Williams is known for a reluctance to use swear words publicly, although "freaking," "frickin'" and "dadgum" are among his substitutes. But he is also known for one other rather notable gaffe, answering a question posed by former CBS reporter Bonnie Bernstein after his Kansas Jayhawks lost to Syracuse in the 2003 NCAA Tournament championship game.

“I could give a s--- about North Carolina right now," he told Bernstein in response to a question about his interest in taking the coaching job at his alma mater.

Turns out he did give a hoot, and he agreed to become Carolina's coach 10 days later.

Carolina led Notre Dame by 15 points with less than nine minutes remaining and lost on a last-second shot for the third time in four games to drop to 10-16 overall and 3-12 in the ACC. Carolina has lost six games by three or fewer points in its last 11 games, and the Tar Heels have lost six in a row and 11 of 13.

Carolina has lost 20 games in a season only once, in 2001-02 in Matt Doherty's second year. To avoid that, Carolina likely would have to win three of its last five regular-season games: At Louisville on Saturday, N.C. State on Tuesday, at Syracuse on Feb. 29, Wake Forest on March 3 and at Duke on March 7.

Carolina's previous losing season before that came in Dean Smith's first year, 1961-62, when the Tar Heels went 8-9 against an abbreviated schedule as Chancellor William Aycock had hired Smith in a move to de-emphasize basketball in the wake of a betting scandal. Smith went on to coach for 36 seasons, leading his teams to two NCAA championships and 879 victories, which was a Division I record when he retired in 1997.

Notre Dame's Nate Laszewski made a three-point shot with 1.8 seconds remaining to give the Irish the win Monday night and cap Carolina's most recent collapse.

"You can feel sorry for yourself and you can give in, or you can freaking compete. There's only two choices; there's no halfway. You've got to be all-in, or you've got to leave," Williams said. "Come on. It's not the easiest thing in the world, but you've still got to compete. It makes no difference. We're going to play the games they put on our schedule. We're going to try to compete as hard as we can. It's frustrating. It makes you angry. Every little mistake, you wonder why. But the bottom line is we're going to play a game again on Saturday and see what happens."

Contact Eddie Wooten at (336) 373-7093, and follow @EddieWootenNR on Twitter.

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