High expectations nothing new for Zeller

If Cody Zeller had felt the need, he didn’t have far to turn to seek advice on how to handle the pressure of being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. His brother Tyler, after all, had to deal with it a year ago at North Carolina.
But Cody didn’t feel the need.
“I didn’t talk to him about being a No. 1 seed,” said Cody. “We’ve been dealing with expectations all year. Ever since even last year at the end of the NCAA tournament, we were named the No. 1 team for this season, so we’ve been dealing with expectations all summer, throughout this year.
“So it’s a mature group that has dealt with it pretty well, and nothing has changed much. We don’t worry about it.”
Cody was even named the national preseason player of the year and the Hoosiers were the preseason No. 1 team.
Turns out, Zeller wasn’t the best player in the conference — that honor went to Michigan’s Trey Burke. And frankly, there’s a spirited debate taking place on whether Zeller or Victor Oladipo is IU’s best player.
None of that matters to Zeller.
“That’s what makes this a tough team to beat. We have so many different weapons,” said Zeller. “If you want to take me and Christian (Watford) away, our shooters are going to be open on the outside. It is a talented team and we can have five or six guys in double figures every night.”
No doubt, the two former Washington High standoutsh have had discussions about the personal sacrifices that need to be made by players to create the necessary chemistry all good teams have.
After all, Tyler played on extremely talented UNC squads and was even on a national title team as a freshman. Tyler has since moved on to the NBA, where he’s playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And I’m sure if Cody asked, Tyler would tell him there are no guarantees.
Last season’s UNC team lost in the East Regional final to Kansas.
If that match up sounds familiar, it should — even if your NCAA bracket sheets are bleeding red like mine. The Tar Heels and Jayhawks will meet in a Round of 32 game today in the South Regional.

This entry was posted in College Basketball by Randy Beard. Bookmark the permalink.

About Randy Beard

Randy Beard has been at the Courier & Press since 2007 and became the sports editor in 2012. He has previously been a sports editor at the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat. He began his professional sports journalist career in 1976 and has spent his career primarily covering college sports in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. He's also covered the NFL, the original North American Soccer League and professional tennis and golf. He's covered two Super Bowls, three college football national championship games, dozens of NCAA basketball tournament games, an Olympics, a World Cup and once hung out with soccer legend George Best for two days and sat in a golf cart with Jan Stephenson.

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