UNC vs. UNC-Asheville Preview

This past weekend may be about the worst UNC-related sports weekend in recent memory. Besides the two losses suffered by the basketball team, the football team went down at home to State, the women’s soccer team made an unfamiliar early exit in the NCAA soccer tournament and the field hockey team lost to Maryland in double-OT in the NCAA championship game. It’s safe to say the entire UNC athletic community needs a pick-me-up. As much as we would all would hope UNC-A to be a cupcake, the Bulldogs have all ready taken down an SEC opponent on the road in overtime. That’s the type of finishing UNC has lacked in its two loses.

  • The Bulldogs have one thing no UNC fan wants to see, a high-scoring guard. Junior Matt Dickey, right, is leading the team with 20 points a game. He is shooting an outrageous 53.5 percent from 3 to go with 50 percent overall. UNC always has trouble defending the 3 and believe Dickey will come out shooting.
  • Asheville’s other leading scorer is also a guard. Junior J.P. Primm is averaging over 15 points per contest to go with 5.3 assists. UNC can usually get away with one high-scoring guard per game, but they cannot let both get hot in the Smith Center.
  • Tyler Zeller has been playing like a stud and should continue to do so against a team that doesn’t put a lot of front court players on the court. Center D.J. Cunningham is 6’10” and averaging close to a double-double, but with a rotation of Zeller, John Henson and Justin Knox on the blocks, UNC has a clear advantage.
  • Both of these teams have already shown this year that they can put points on the board. UNC looked unstoppable with 107 Thursday night versus Hofstra, and I’m sure Asheville looked the same putting up 116 against Virginia Intermont, whoever they are. This game will come down to defensive stops and efficiency on the offensive end. I guess that’s every game though.
  • UNC is going to also have to go tonight without Reggie Bullock. The freshman has come off the bench strong with double figures in three of four games but will miss tonight with a knee injury.

For UNC to be successful they will have to cut down on the turnovers. No matter how much better you look on paper, it is difficult to win games with 22 turnovers. The Heels also need to get back into their fast break offense and convert on their abundant second chance opportunities. This may not have looked like one of the most important match-ups on the schedule before the season started, but it will sure tell us a lot about the what kind of team this is and how they respond to weekends like this past one.

Prediction: UNC 87, UNC-A 72