Coll. of Charleston-North Carolina Preview
North Carolina is trying to learn from its mistakes. Heeding a lesson from last season could be even more important against the College of Charleston.
Looking for a more complete performance, the No. 25 Tar Heels will try to avoid another letdown against the upset-minded Cougars on Sunday.
Consecutive losses behind a 38.7 shooting percent last week nearly dropped North Carolina (3-2) out of the AP Top 25. The Tar Heels did little to prove they belonged among the elite Tuesday, beating UNC-Asheville 80-69 despite committing 20 turnovers and nearly squandering a 22-point lead.
"We learned things (Tuesday)," coach Roy Williams said after a long postgame talk with his team. "We had a great number of opportunities to learn from our mistakes. If we learn from it, I'll say yes (that the team is improving).
"If I live through this team, I think we're going to be a heck of a lot better at the end of the year."
A win over the Cougars (4-2) might help Williams feel better about his team, which is trying to show improvement after losing 17 games last season and failing to reach the NCAA tournament.
One of those defeats was a surprising 82-79 overtime loss at Charleston on Jan. 4, as then-ninth-ranked North Carolina shot 38.0 percent while going 1 for 6 from 3-point range.
Tyler Zeller could avenge that loss by continuing his strong play. The junior forward had 23 points, seven rebounds and two blocks against the Bulldogs after scoring 20 while pulling down 10 boards and swatting two shots in a 72-65 loss to Vanderbilt last Sunday.
"I'm just doing whatever I can to be able to win," said Zeller, who leads the Tar Heels with 17.0 points per game and is second with 7.4 rebounds.
Zeller, a reserve last season, had nine points in the loss to Charleston.
Despite North Carolina's status as one of the most storied programs in the nation, the team has split six meetings with the Cougars. The Tar Heels had no trouble in the last matchup at Chapel Hill, winning 108-70 on Jan. 7, 2009.
Charleston's two wins in its last 11 games against a ranked opponent have come against North Carolina, and another could knock the Tar Heels out of the top 25.
A victory would also be the Cougars' third in a row overall after beating winless Toledo 64-51 last Sunday.
Andrew Goudelock will likely be key again after he scored 24 points against North Carolina last season. The senior guard leads the Southern Conference with 23.0 points per game and his 4.5 assists are tops for Charleston.
He made 7 of 13 shots - 3 of 9 from beyond the arc - for 17 points against the Rockets.