Previewing UNC Asheville

The Tar Heels aim to complete their non-conference schedule undefeated on Wednesday, facing UNC Asheville. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

North Carolina (15-0) vs. UNC Asheville (11-3)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
7 p.m., ESPNU


"We're playing the No. 1 team in the nation, and they like to run. Our strength is our guards that can run, and leaning on Kenny George. ... So, we've got to slow North Carolina down. I don't even know if that's possible." -- UNCA coach Eddie Biedenbach

"I hope they won't take us lightly, even though we're coming off a big win. I think we can get there and do some damage. We have nothing to lose." -- UNCA forward Reid Augst

"[UNCA 7-7 center Kenny George] is long and it obviously changes up a lot of things ... his length makes you think." -- Tyler Hansbrough


Season to Date: UNC Asheville is off to its best start in 23 years as it enters Wednesday night's contest with an 11-3 record. The Bulldogs upset South Carolina 61-58 in Columbia on Saturday night after trailing by seven points with 3:56 remaining. UNCA has also beaten Montreat (94-64) and Buffalo (101-90 OT) since returning from the holiday break, and played Virginia Tech (61-55) and Tennessee (86-73) close in losses on their home courts. Head coach Eddie Biedenbach's squad won four of their final five games in 2006-07, and is just one victory away from matching their win total from last season (12-19).

Spreading It Around: The Bulldogs enter tonight's game with five players averaging more than 10 points per game. Senior guard Bryan Smithson tops the Dogs with a 16.4 average, senior guard K.J. Garland adds 16.0 and junior center Kenny George contributes 12.8 points from the post. Junior forward Vincent James is next with an 11.1 average and junior forward Reid Augst rounds out the Bulldogs' double-figure scorers with a 10.1 mark. All five players have posted a 20-point or better performance at least once this season.

(pictured vs. UNC last season)
Big South Contenders: Winthrop has garnered the bulk of the early-season media attention for the Big South Conference with wins over Georgia Tech and Miami, but UNC Asheville is dominating the statistical categories in the league, ranking first or second in nine different areas. The Bulldogs are first in field goal percentage (.494), field goal percentage defense (.394), blocked shots (8.79), assist/turnover ratio (1.22) and defensive rebounds (27.9), while holding down the second spot in scoring offense (79.3), scoring margin (+9.4), three-point field goal percentage (.392) and assists (18.4).

Big Man on Campus: Tyler Hansbrough has faced some seven-footers this season, but none compare to Bulldogs center Kenny George. The junior stands a staggering 7-foot-7 – a full 10 inches taller than the Tar Heels' All-American. George is not just a big body, either. He's averaging 12.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, and leads the nation with 65 blocks (5.8 per game) and ranks 20th nationally in field goal percentage (70.2). The Chicago native posted the first triple-double in UNC Asheville history in the win over Campbell with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks, but that was not his only impressive stat line – he also contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, eight blocks and four assists in a win over East Tennessee State.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels routed UNC Asheville, 93-62, with a solid defensive performance on Dec. 16, 2006, in the Smith Center. North Carolina held the Bulldogs to 23.3 percent shooting and 23 points in the second half, and just 33.9 percent from the floor for the game. UNC – led by Brandan Wright's 21 points and nine boards – dominated the rebounding statistics (50 to 34).

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with UNC Asheville, 4-0. Wednesday's meeting will mark the third consecutive season in which the teams have met. The Tar Heels have won three times at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, during the 1994-95, 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. UNC also beat the Bulldogs in Asheville on Dec. 28, 1995.

Location: Asheville, N.C.
Enrollment: 3,500
Conference: Big South
Nickname: Bulldogs
Color: Royal Blue & White
Head Coach: Eddie Biedenbach
Record at UNCA: 183-230
Last Year: 12-19

Projected Starters:
 2 K.J. Garland (6-1, 170, Sr.) – 16.0 ppg, 6.6 apg
10 Bryan Smithson (6-0, 170, Sr.) - 16.4 ppg, 4.3 apg
20 Reid Augst (6-6, 190, Jr.) – 10.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg
24 Vincent James (6-7, 200, Sr.) - 11.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
 4 Garrett Moles (6-7, 200, Sr.) – 3.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Key Reserves:
22 Kenny George (7-7, 360, Jr.) – 12.8 ppg, 9.3 reb, 5.4 bpg
21 John Williams (6-4, 205, Fr.) – 7.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
15 Sean Smith (6-6, 195, So.) – 5.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg

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