Preview - UNC-Asheville

West Virginia hopes to learn a great deal in a short time as they face the Bulldogs in the season opener.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS

Junior guard Andre Smith will be UNC-Asheville's leader in 2001-2002. Smith is the leading returning scorer for the 'Dogs after averaging 11.5 points per game last season. He also set a school record for steals with 59.

The Bulldogs are an experienced bunch, despite having only one senior in this year's lineup. UNC-A returns Smith and Big South all-rookie selection Brandon Carter in the backcourt. Up front, forwards Robbie Joyner and Colin Shaw, both returning starters, join last year's backup at center, Ben McGonagil, to form an experienced trio.

Look for UNC-Asheville to try to control the tempo early and keep the Mountineers and their home crowd out of the game. As a smaller school that often goes on the road to face bigger name opponents, the Bulldogs are aware of the pitfalls awaiting them, and don't figure to be caught by surprise in the hostile envrionment that can be presented at the WVU Coliseum.

Watch for WVU to work on their full court pressure defense and run through a variety of defensive sets as they try to cram in as much work as possible before heading to New Mexico for a Thanksgiving tournament.

KEY MATCHUP

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
WVU 0-0, 0-0
UNCA 0-0, 0-0
Fri 11/16 8:00 PM
WVU Coliseum
Series: First Meeting
TV: None
RPI: WVU-NR UNCA-NR
Line: WVU -14
WVU's Chris Moss vs. UNC-A's Robby Joyner

We like West Virginia's chances with this matchup. Moss will look to use his strength and Big East-earned savvy against Joyner, who will be giving up a couple of inches and a few pounds to Moss.

Chris should be able to use his post up game to good effect against any of the Bulldog forwards.

INJURY REPORT

WVU: John Oliver (Back Spasms, Groin), Probable; Drew Schifino (Strained Achilles), Probable; Tyrone Sally (Bruised Leg), Probable

UNCA: Andre Smith (Bruised foot), Probable; Colin Shaw, (Knee injury), Probable; Billy Allen (Bruised tailbone), Doubtful

OUTLOOK

UNC-Asheville is not a slouch team. They consistently finish in the top tier of the Big South, and are a tough foe at home.

This game is being viewed by many as the coming out party for WVU's heralded class of freshmen, but the Mountaineers would be wise to get down to business from the outset.

Also of interest will be WVU's use (or non-use) of center Chris Garnett, who has returned to practice from suspension but did not participate in either exhibition game. We look for Garnett to get minimal time in this game as head coach Gale Catlett works him slowly back into the lineup.

We think that's what will happen, as the Bulldogs put up a solid fight but wither against WVU's fast breaks and slashes to the basket.

FAST BREAKS

UNCA lists this game as starting at 7:00 p.m. in "Mogantown", so the Bulldogs are either going to be early or not show up at all.

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The Bulldogs went 1-1 in their exhibition season. They defeated Lenoir-Rhyne 67-57, but lost to USA-Vasda 89-82. Smith and Shaw did not play against Lenoir-Rhyne.

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UNCA is 0-5 all time versus the Big East. They are 0-5 in their last five openers.

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First-year West Virginia women's tennis coach Dan Silverstein served as UNCA's head men's and women's tennis coach for three seasons from 1996 until 1999. In his first year at Asheville, Silverstein also worked with the men's basketball staff and was in charge of film exchange.


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