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Posted: Saturday November 06, 1999 11:00 AM

North Carolina
1998-99 record
24-10 overall, 10-6 ACC (lost to Weber State in NCAA first round)
Bill Guthridge, 58-14 at UNC (2 years), 58-14 overall
Projected starting lineup
G Ed Cota, 6-1/196, Sr.
Easy Ed is looking to become the first person in ACC history to lead the league in assists four consecutive years.

G Max Owens, 6-5/198, Jr.
Must prove he can be a consistent scorer from the outside or freshman Forte could steal his job.

F Jason Capel, 6-8/230, So.
Back surgery and a move to his more natural position should make Capel a better and more consistent threat this year.

F Kris Lang, 6-11/240, So.
When he learns to trust that Cota will get him the ball in perfect position to score, Lang will be almost unstoppable.

C Brendan Haywood, 7-0/271, Jr.
If he shows up to play, which didn't happen often at the end of last season, he can be a monster; otherwise, he just takes up space.

Top guy off the bench
F/C Brian Bersticker, 6-10, Jr.
His height gives the Tar Heels a formidable front line, but he can't keep getting pushed around inside.
Key Newcomer
G Joseph Forte, 6-4/190, Greenbelt, Md
Don't call him Joe -- the super-shooter thinks his full name sounds better; the Tar Heels will call him anything he wants if he can provide outside scoring.
Key Games
Dec. 1, vs. Michigan State
Dec. 8, vs. Cincinnati (Great Eight in Chicago)
Dec. 18, vs. Miami (Orange Bowl Tournament in Sunrise, Fla.)
Dec. 21, vs. Indiana (Jimmy V Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.)
Third-year coach Guthridge is bound and determined to return the Tar Heels to a pressure style of defense. "We didn't get enough easy baskets last year," Guthridge said. "Every point we scored had to be in the half-court game." Trouble is, the last time the Tar Heels ran the scramble was Cota's freshman year and nobody remembers what to do. So the Tar Heels will have spend the preseason perfecting a system that used to be its trademark. The other problem is that Guthridge doesn't have three of the bodies he expected to have this year: freshman recruit Jason Parker (failed to qualify), forward Vasco Evtimov (turned professional) and Ronald Curry (injury). So it will be up to Cota to run the offense smoothly and the rest of the team to create some offense, something the Tar Heels were not good at doing last year. They won't get a chance to ease into the different style: UNC has the nation's most difficult schedule.
Tar Heels' 1999-00 schedule

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