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North Carolina-Virginia Tech Preview

AP - Sports

The last time North Carolina took the floor, it was handed its worst conference loss in nearly nine years.

The eighth-ranked Tar Heels didn't fare so well the last time they visited Virginia Tech, either.

North Carolina looks to bounce back from an embarrassing defeat when it faces the struggling Hokies in an ACC matchup Thursday night.

Coach Roy Williams didn't make any excuses following a 90-57 loss at Florida State on Saturday, as the Tar Heels (15-3, 2-1) shot a season-worst 37.3 percent and had their nine-game winning streak end.

They hadn't committed 22 turnovers since a 72-65 loss to Vanderbilt on Nov. 21, 2010 - a span of 51 games.

"I didn't say anything to the team," Williams said. "We just got together quickly and I got out because I'd rather wait until I look at the tape ... I don't want to say some things that are stupid."

The loss was North Carolina's worst under Williams and its most lopsided ACC defeat since falling 96-56 to Maryland on Feb. 22, 2003.

Harrison Barnes scored a team-high 15 points but also had five turnovers, while Tyler Zeller finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Kendall Marshall had seven turnovers, and the Tar Heels shot 45.0 percent (9 for 20) from the free-throw line.

"There is no facet of the game that we don't need to work on, from free throws to box outs to guarding the ball to help-side defense to not turning it over," Williams said. "Florida State made us look like a bunch of little junior high guys."

North Carolina has won six of the last seven meetings with Virginia Tech, with the Hokies' only victory coming 74-70 on Feb. 4, 2010, in the last matchup at Cassell Coliseum.

Virginia Tech (11-6, 0-3) will need a vastly improved effort if it is to accomplish the feat again.

The Hokies are on the verge of losing their first four ACC games since dropping their first six of the 2005-06 season after Saturday's 61-59 defeat to Boston College.

Virginia Tech committed a season-high 17 turnovers and shot 36.2 percent, marking the third straight game it shot less than 40.0. It hasn't been held below that mark for four consecutive games since Jan. 17-28, 2004.

"We're not playing fast enough," coach Seth Greenberg said during the ACC's weekly teleconference. "We've got to get out in transition. Our wing guys aren't running hard enough."

The Hokies have only nine fastbreak points in three ACC games.

"We've played these games over the last three, four years, they've always been competitive games and they've always been in that 66 to 70-ish range," Greenberg said. "But we've also been able to get some easy baskets. We've also been able to have some room and rhythm shots and made some plays in transition. We've just got to make good decisions in transition."

It didn't help the Hokies were playing without leading scorer Erick Green, who is averaging 16.1 points but was held out after spraining the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee in practice last Thursday.

Green said he expects to play against North Carolina, which won the most recent meeting 64-61 on Jan. 13, 2011, behind 17 points from John Henson and 16 from Zeller.

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