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Off the cuff: How can a team be so intense and focused to win its first away game and then come home to score just 60 points and lose at home for the third straight time? You're going to have to go somewhere else to get an answer to that. This far into the season my only thought is that the Carolina players just aren't that good - which surprises me.

I'm surprised by the lack of leadership and focus by Marcus Ginyard. I'm surprised that Ed Davis and Deon Thompson aren't very combative inside. (Carolina fans got spoiled with Tyler Hansbrough.) I'm surprised that the young guys haven't progressed over the last month. I'm surprised no one can hit free throws consistently. One thing I'm not surprised about is that Tyler Zeller is sorely missed. He was the first man off the bench and was arguably the best sixth man in the league. He's still a month away from returning.

Deon Thompson seems to think that Carolina has the talent to compete well in the ACC. He says the guys need to "care more about the name on their chest." He says this team, the 100th in the school's history, is not doing a very good job of representing Carolina basketball. I guess that's true but these guys knew all about Carolina basketball when they were being recruited.

One thing for sure is that there is a lack of intensity and focus. I have a hard time believing that the problem is Coach Roy Williams but perhaps he hasn't adjusted his playing style to his current personnel. Still, these guys - including the more experienced players - have to listen and execute.

It's now going to be difficult for the Tar Heels to reach the .500 mark in the ACC. They really needed this victory. If the Heels don't go .500, they are in danger of not getting a bid to the NCAA tournament although their name might get them a low seed. At this point, the Carolina team needs to set different goals - like winning a couple of games in a row. For the first time in years, the Tar Heels will actually have to try hard to win the ACC tournament. Williams has put less emphasis on the ACC tournament so that his guys will be rested for the NCAA run - that's the furthest thing from his mind now.

The game was played in front of a rather sparse crowd due the snow. At the first TV timeout, the fans in the upper deck were invited to come down and fill in the empty seats. The same thing happened 10 years ago but the fans weren't nearly as raucous this time around.

Virginia 75, Tar Heels 60
How Carolina lost its groove again

After a devastating 75-60 loss at home to Virginia, North Carolina all but ended any chance to compete for a regular season title and lost any good feelings it had after an impressive road victory four days earlier. (1/31)

The Tar Heels struggled offensively, including an eight-minute span between buckets early in the second half, and finished the game shooting only 37 percent from the field. Meanwhile the Cavaliers shot 52 percent and used an 18-0 run over four minutes to take a 53-32 lead and all but wrap it up with 14:20 left in the game.

Carolina never got the deficit below 14 points and didn't hit the 40-point mark until there were just seven minutes to play. The 60 points was the lowest output of the season. The loss was only the sixth home loss to Virginia in the history of Carolina basketball and the margin of defeat was the largest.

The game was close throughout the first half but, even though the score was tied three times, the Tar Heels never led. Virginia took a 35-30 lead into the half.

At the start of the second half, it looked promising as Ed Davis got loose for a dunk to make it 35-32. But Davis never scored another bucket and the Cavaliers went on that 18-0 run. During the stretch Virginia was hot - Sammy Zeglinski, who had a season-high 19 points, drilled a pair of threes - while Carolina was sloppy - fouling, turning the ball over and getting beat to loose balls. In the first four minutes of the first half, Carolina committed more fouls than it did the entire first half.

While the start of the second half was the backbreaker, the Tar Heels didn't play well at the outset either. In fact, the Heels turned the ball over three times during its first five possessions of the game.

"I really thought we'd play well but we didn't come out with much intensity," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "I'm about as frustrated and disappointed as I've ever been in my entire life."

Once again Williams said he's got to do a better job coaching. "I've got to find a better way to get them to focus on doing the things they're supposed to do."

Will Graves and Larry Drew II were the only Carolina players in double figures as they each scored 15 points for the Heels, who are now 2-4 in the ACC and 13-8 overall. Sylven Landesberg scored a season-high 29 points to lead the Cavaliers, who improve to 4-2 in the ACC and 13-6 overall.

The Tar Heels play at Virginia Tech Thursday night.

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