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 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.
Background 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