Preview: Asheville vs. N.C. State

Where: RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.
When: Friday, Nov. 11th, 7 p.m.
TV: none (Big South/ACC Streaming online)
Radio: WWNC 570/iHeartRadio, N.C. State Radio Network

And so it begins.

Asheville ran roughshod over Lees McRae on Monday night, but while N.C. State isn’t the program of glory days past (something Eddie Biedenbach knows about), it’s about as far away from Monday night’s game as you can get.

The issue here is going to be size.  Simply put, N.C. State has it and Asheville doesn’t.  In addition to big men like C.J. (or Calvin) Leslie, Jordan Vanderberg, Richard Howell, Deshawn Painter . . . well, you get the picture.  The Wolfpack are going to have 2-3 inches on every player (point guard Lorenzo Brown is 6’5″) and the Bulldogs will have their hands full trying to get to the paint.

In the past, this wouldn’t have been as much of an issue for the Bulldogs, whose speed could take care of N.C. State’s lackadaisical offense under Sydney Lowe.  But new coach Mark Gottfried has the Wolfpack running and gunning, demonstrated both in the red and white scrimmage and the Pack’s crushing victory over Flagler (who?) College on Monday.  Primm and Dickey will have to contain Lorenzo Brown, an able passer and scorer who has the potential to be one of the better point guards in the ACC this year.  Eddie’s frontcourt-by-committee, meanwhile, is going to have to deal with C.J. Leslie, a player who none other than Coach K called the most rawly talented player in the ACC.

And therein lies Asheville’s opportunity.  Only one of the teams at the RBC center on Friday will have played in the NCAA, nay, any postseason tournament last year, and it won’t be the red and white from State.  State lost key players last year in Tracy Smith and Ryan Harrow, and while Gottfried offers promise for the future (likely substantial promise, given the amazing recruiting class he’s put together for 2013), this current State team has yet to be seriously tested.

Asheville’s mature, disciplined corps of seniors have been here before, and there’s no reason to panic.  This time last year, Asheville was facing a major conference team away from home and came up with a big upset over Auburn.  There’s no reason that the ‘Doggers can’t do that this year over the Wolfpack.  Ultimately, though, the size of the Wolfpack may be too insurmountable for a talented yet undersized Asheville team.

Asheville 68, N.C. State 75

Note:  This prediction is just that: a prediction.  I would love nothing more than for the Doggers to run the table and will e rooting wholeheartedly for them on Friday.  Consider it a reverse jinx.

Note: I tried listening to the Lees McRae game online to no avail.  Hopefully it works for the State game.

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