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Off the cuff: Ok, things aren't going well for the Tar Heels, despite the strong shooting anamoly against Boston College. Carolina went right back to its poor shooting ways at Virginia - both from the field and the free throwing line. They shot 41 percent from each.

But it seems to be open season on Carolina, whether it be jokes directed at them because of the academic scandal - one sign read "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" - or commentators putting the players down.

Jeff Van Gundy, who should stick to calling NBA games (boy was that announcing booth crowded with three guys talking), says the Tar Heels have no exuberance. True, I suppose, but you'd look like an idiot being exhuberant when you aren't playing well.

Color commentator Jay Bilas asked, "Was there a moment in the game where you thought the Tar Heels could win?" Well, yeah, the game was nip-and-tuck for the first 15 minutes. In fact, the Tar Heels had the lead several times in the first half and McAdoo was playing with "exuberance."

After the game, former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg piled on saying that Kansas and Kentucky were now getting the players that Carolina used to get. If Carolina has to have one-year rent-a-players destined for the NBA in order to compete, that's sad.

Carolina has been hit hard by players going early and by players being sanctioned by the NCAA. The Tar Heels are young and have guys playing out of position. They have the talent and if they can get their shooting eye, the Tar Heels can be competitive down the stretch.

But it has to start against Clemson Sunday. If the Tar Heels lose at home to the Tigers, something never done before, UNC fans better just get used to hearing opposing fans yelling "N-I-T, N-I-T."

Virginia 76, Tar Heels 61
Cavs drops UNC to last-place tie

Virginia drained eight threes and used a 12-2 run at the end of the first half to open up a close game on its way to a 76-61 rout of North Carolina. (1/20)

The Tar Heels overcame four Virginia three-pointers, including three by senior Joe Harris, to take a 27-26 lead with less then six minutes to go in the first half. But the Cavaliers went on a 12-2 run to end the half up 38-29 and the Heels never really threatened again.

"We had a couple of turnovers and missed opportunities at the end of the first half and all of a sudden we were down nine," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

Carolina was also the recipient of bad luck during that stretch when a UVA basket should have been disallowed by basket interference in the cylinder.

Virginia extended the lead early in the first half as North Carolina never got closer than that nine-point halftime deficit. The lead hovered 13-15 points most of the second half before the Cavaliers went up by 23 late. That was the Tar Heels' largest deficit of the season.

Kennedy Meeks was a rare bright spot for Carolina as he led the team with 15 points. James Michael McAdoo added 11.

"Our guys are trying," Williams said. "But we need to play with a greater sense of urgency and alertness."

Virginia at 5-1 in league play moves into sole possession of second place behind Syracuse while North Carolina at 1-4 in the ACC moves into a five-way tie for last place. The 1-4 start to ACC play is the worst for the Tar Heels since Matt Doherty was coach.

The Tar Heels, 11-7 overall, look to get well at home against Clemson Sunday at 6 p.m. The Tigers at 4-1 in the ACC must feel this is one of their best chances to break the never having won jinx in Chapel Hill.



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