North Carolina has almost assuredly secured a return trip to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence, and N.C. State will try today to continue generating a run to end its long NCAA drought.
The Research Triangle neighbors will renew their rivalry for the second time this season at 9 p.m. at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
Old rivals North Carolina, N.C. State to square off
The Winston-Salem Journal
But this season Zeller has emerged as 19th-ranked UNC's most consistent player, and he enters today's game against N.C. State (9 p.m., WRAL) as the team's leading scorer (14.5) and second-leading rebounder (7.3). He has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games and is shooting a league-best 57.9 percent from the floor in ACC play.
Coach Roy Williams said Zeller has been the "security blanket" that every team needs, especially as the Tar Heels (20-6, 10-2 ACC) continue to struggle to score from outside.
UNC's Zeller often faces tough defense, set for NCSU
The Durham Herald-Sun
For two hours, every move Zeller made drew significant attention from a swarming Eagles defense. Zeller's first touch in the post came 2 minutes into the game. Yet less than a half-second after Kendall Marshall's pass hit his hands, Zeller had BC forward Danny Rubin behind him and Joe Trapani racing over to contest his jump hook.
That was simply the norm Saturday, the double-teams coming at Zeller as frequently as the passes.
Tar Heels continue to struggle with long shots
The Fayetteville Observer
North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall echoes the sentiments of most offensive-minded players when it comes to facing a zone defense.
The scheme, usually employed to clog the lane and compensate for the threats posed by an opponent with superior athleticism, isn’t exactly trendy.
“Obviously we prefer to play against (a man-to-man),” Marshall said.
If recent outings are any indication, the No. 19 Tar Heels (20-6 overall, 10-2 ACC) might have to get used to it.
Cold-shooting Tar Heels try to avoid getting zoned out
The Burlington Times-News
UNC point guard Kendall Marshall is getting his teammates the ball right where they want it. Freshman wing Harrison Barnes has made big buckets at key times. Sophomore forward John Henson continues to swat more shots than anyone else in the ACC - while continuing to improve his overall game.
But just as important to the 19th-ranked Tar Heels' (20-6, 10-2 ACC) success, as they prepare to play at N.C. State (14-12, 4-8) tonight, has been the consistent play of junior big man Tyler Zeller, who leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game.
Tar Heels' Zeller is smart, steady
The Charlotte Observer
And even though the ball has not been going through the hoop with much regularity over their last three games, the 19th-ranked Tar Heels take a three-game winning streak into Raleigh tonight for a 9 p.m. tipoff vs. N.C. State.
In an eight-day stretch of games against Clemson, Wake Forest and Boston College, UNC (20-6, 10-2) has shot less than 38 percent from the floor in each game and still found ways to win, which may say more about the overall weakness of the ACC than the Tar Heels' prowess at achieving victories.
North Carolina men winning ugly
The Asheville Citizen-Times
North Carolina's winning streak over N.C. State has a relatively simple explanation. On that, both sides of the rivalry can agree.
The No. 19 Tar Heels visit the Wolfpack Wednesday night (9 p.m., WRAL, WCTI) in search of a 10th straight win in the series and its 16th in 17 games under coach Roy Williams. Since Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe won his first meeting with Williams on Feb. 3, 2007, N.C. State has lost the past nine meetings by an average of 16.2 points. Only two of those N.C. State losses have been decided by less than 10 points.
Wolfpack looks to end dry spell against Heels
The Charlotte Observer