North Carolina Basketball: Why Tyler Zeller Is Key to Team's Tournament Hopes

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North Carolina Basketball: Why Tyler Zeller Is Key to Team's Tournament Hopes
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

At the beginning of the season, the North Carolina Tar Heels were the consensus No. 1 team in America. 

The squad returned all of its key players from its run to the Elite Eight last year and seemed poised to win a national championship.

Don’t get me wrong, the Tar Heels are still one of the top teams in the country. It’s just that they have not separated themselves from the pack the way many predicted they would.

An early-season loss to the UNLV Rebels and an all-too-recent blowout at the hands of the unranked Florida State Seminoles had some questioning just how good North Carolina really is. 

On a team filled with at least three surefire first-round NBA Draft picks, there is one player who stands out as a potential key to the Tar Heels’ success in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: Tyler Zeller.

Zeller is almost averaging a double-double this season with 15 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

But the seven-foot center has an unfortunate habit of disappearing in games and getting pushed around by bigger players.

For North Carolina to have the kind of success most predicted they would, Zeller has to step up.

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