North Carolina (21-7, 11-4) vs. Virginia Tech (9-18, 2-13)
Blacksburg, Va. -- Cassell Coliseum
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
ACC Network (Tom Werme, Eddie Fogler)
"We just came out sluggish. We didn't really bring that intensity." – Virginia Tech forward Trevor Thompson following his team's loss at Duke on Tuesday
"I don't think we have enough bodies. We ran out of gas. I could see it in a lot of the guys' faces. We were just dead exhausted." - Thompson following the loss at Duke
Season to Date: Virginia Tech enters Saturday's contest with a 9-18 (2-13 ACC) record. After opening ACC play in early December with a win at Miami, the Hokies dropped 10 straight conference games, five by 20 points or more. A second win over the Hurricanes on Feb. 15 broke that streak, although James Johnson's squad has since lost three straight games to secure its position at the bottom of the ACC standings.
Senior Struggles: Jarell Eddie leads Virginia Tech in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (5.3) per game, although his numbers have decreased during ACC play. In 15 conference games, the Charlotte, N.C. product is averaging 10.4 points per game – tied for the team lead – on 28.6 percent shooting (30.4 percent from 3-point range). He's also committed 23 turnovers against 15 assists.
Injuries Like the Plague: Making the roster talent deficiencies even worse has been a string of injuries that have prevented Virginia Tech from finding any type of consistency during ACC play. Junior forward C.J. Barksdale missed four games due to a groin injury suffered in late January and sophomore guard Adam Smith (left calf strain) and freshman guard Ben Emelogu (left ankle) both sat out Tuesday's loss at Duke. Senior forward Cadarian Raines (left ankle) only logged one minute against the Blue Devils. According to Virginia Tech's sports information office, scholarship players have missed a combined 22 games in ACC play. And those numbers don't take into account the departure of Marquis Rankin, who left the team after the semester break.
Bright Spot: While there haven't been many memorable events in this forgettable season for the Hokies, freshman point guard Devin Wilson has played well in stretches while directing Johnson's offense. The McKees Rocks, Pa. native is tied with Eddie in scoring in ACC play (10.4 ppg) and is shooting 37.5 percent from long range. Wilson's 127 assists are the most ever for a Virginia Tech rookie, surpassing the previous mark by Hank Thorn (113) in 2007-08.
Solid D Not Forcing TOs: Virginia Tech ranks sixth in ACC play in field goal percentage defense (41.5) and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (34.7). The problem, however, has come in an inability to create turnovers. The Hokies are forcing a league-low 8.5 in conference play. Tech is forcing 8.6 turnovers per game on the season, which ranks 348th out of 351 schools in turnover percentage nationally, according to kenpom.com.
Missing More than Most: The Hokies rank 15th in ACC play in scoring offense (56.1), free throw percentage (59.5) and field goal percentage (37.7). Virginia Tech has been mildly better in 3-point field goal percentage (31.1), which is good for 12th in the conference.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Hokies, 72-60, in overtime in Chapel Hill on Feb. 2, 2013. UNC fell behind 12-0 and took its first lead at 46-45 with 9:29 to play. Marcus Paige scored 19 points, including eight in overtime. James Michael McAdoo led all scorers with 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Series History: UNC leads the overall series with Virginia Tech, 63-13. The Tar Heels are 19-5 against the Hokies in Blacksburg.
11 Devin Wilson (6-4, 185, Fr.) - 9.3 ppg, 4.7 apg
25 Will Johnston (6-4, 205, Jr.) - 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
31 Jarell Eddie (6-7, 220, Sr.) - 13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg
32 Trevor Thompson (6-11, 210, Fr.) - 4.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg
2 Joey van Zegeren (6-10, 225, So.) - 5.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg
4 Cadarian Raines (6-9, 238, Sr.) - 5.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg
33 Marshall Wood (6-8, 230, So.) - 4.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg
42 C.J. Barksdale (6-8, 235, Jr.) - 8.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg
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(Photos by USA Today Sports)