Monthly Archives: June 2012

UNC Asheville Basketball: Home Opener, Non-Conference Games Revealed

Two-time defending Big South Conference champion, UNC Asheville will open their home schedule for the 2012-13 season against mountain rival Western Carolina University on Friday, Nov. 9 at Kimmel Arena.

Coach Eddie Biedenbach will begin his 17th season as Asheville’s top dog this year

Coach Eddie Biedenbach, speaking Tuesday night at a Coaches Caravan event in South Asheville said the Bulldogs will be playing some tough opponents this season as usual.  Games at North Carolina State, a pre-season favorite in the ACC, a return game at Northeastern (the Dogs played them two seasons ago in the ESPN BracketBusters event), at St. John’s (NY), at Ohio State and at Charlotte will get the Bulldogs ready for conference play.

They also will be playing in the prestigious Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament in San Juan from Nov. 15-18.

The Bulldogs will be joined by “Sweet 16” participant N.C. State, Akron, Massachusetts, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Providence and Tennessee.

This marks the second straight season Asheville has been invited to play in an early season tournament. Last year, the Bulldogs participated in the Battle “4” Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

“One of the benefits of going to the NCAA Tournament the past two years is you raise your team’s profile and get invited to tournaments like last year in the Bahamas and this season in Puerto Rico,” stated Biedenbach. “We’re excited to be invited to this tournament. It should be a great experience for our guys.

“However, this is a really tough field,” he added. “There are a lot of good basketball teams in this tournament. We’re going to be tested early in the season with any of the opponents we’ll face in Puerto Rico.”

Trent Meyer has big shoes to fill, but has the talent and drive to become one of Asheville’s great players

Biedenbach is really excited about the upcoming season in spite of the fact that he loses six seniors, including backcourt standouts Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm.  “Right now, as I see it, Trent Meyers and Keith Hornsby will be our starting guards, with Corey Littlejohn backing up Trent at the point guard spot.  They are every bit as talented and more athletic than Matt and J.P., and have the capability of being great players for us.  However, playing D-I basketball, like they did last year, and starting for a D-I team…well, things kind of speed up and Trent and Keith are not quite there yet.  But they will be!”

Jeremy Atkinson, the Big Elk, had an outstanding season last year and looks to improve upon that in 2012-13

Biedenbach, who will be starting his 17th season as Asheville’s head coach said the Bulldogs will have a “talented and exciting team and I hope to get them to play together and to be there in the end.  That’s what we are shooting for…to get back to the NCAA Tournament again this year,” Biedenbach stated.

As of this meeting, the probable starters are seniors Jaron Lane (last season’s sixth man) and Jeremy Atkinson (a returning starter) up front, with 6’10” center D.J. Cunningham (medical redshirt in 2011-12, but a starter the previous season), Meyer and Hornsby.  The Bulldogs recruited five incoming freshman to the squad, and they certainly will be getting looked at early in the season.

In other news, the Big South – Southern Conference Challenge will be happening again…but just for the women.  Director of Athletics Janet Cone stated the men have a lot of scheduling obstacles to overcome to make this happen, but they are trying hard to get it done for the 2013-14 season.

A spirited crowd enjoyed the event, which is one of several planned over the next few weeks.

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Asheville Tourists Claim First-Half Title

Greenville, SC – The Asheville Tourists, sporting the second-best record in all of professional baseball, clinched the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division first-half title last night when the second-place Charleston River Dogs lost the first game of a doubleheader.

The team found out that it had clinched the title by the second inning and proceeded to lose 2-1 to the Greenville Drive in a quickly-played game as team members were looking ahead to the clubhouse celebration (see photo below).

Inside the clubhouse Wednesday night as the Asheville Tourists celebrate their first-half title

The Tourists are headed for the playoffs for the third time in the last five seasons. In 2008 and 2009 Asheville reached the post-season while narrowly missing out in 2010 and 2011. Asheville is in search of their first South Atlantic League Championship since 1984.

Asheville will host Game Two of their post-season series on Friday, September 7, 2012. If necessary, Game Three will be played at McCormick Field on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Big South Conference Splits into Two Divisions for Basketball

The Big South Conference announced on Monday the creation of a two-division format for men’s and women’s basketball beginning with the upcoming season.

The league recently added Longwood (VA) University to the conference, expanding the membership to 12.  The new school will be in the “North” (division names have not been announced) Division along with Campbell, High Point, Liberty, Longwood, Radford and Virginia Military Institute.

The league’s “South” Division includes the past two conference tournament winners, UNC Asheville (also last year’s regular-season title winner) and Coastal Carolina, the regular-season champs the previous two seasons before finishing second to the Bulldogs last year.  Other members of the division are Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian and Winthrop.

The new conference schedule has the men playing 16 conference games, two against each team in its division and one against every school in the other division.

New post-season tournament brackets were also released Monday. The first and second-place teams in each men’s division receive first-round byes, and the other eight teams will play first-round games.

The tournament will be played at Coastal Carolina’s new facility in Conway, S.C., the next three seasons.