The board is set. The pieces are moving.
The North Carolina Tar Heels landed at Asheville Regional Airport at 6 a.m. on Saturday. As Coach B has said, this is the best possible situation you could have for playing the number one team in the country. And while it’s definitely a silver lining, UNCA has a couple other things going for it.
Home Court Advantage. We’re not playing in the Dean Dome. We’re playing in our house, on our campus. This is always a good thing, and while some Carolina fans might show up, the fact that tickets are hard to come by (credit the Athletics Dept.) bodes well for at least a majority-Asheville crowd. It’s sold out and will be quite loud. Lots of alums, including former basketball players, are returning for this game as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Experience. Ok, so this isn’t the UNC team that Asheville played last year, but most of this Asheville team has played this Tar Heel team before. It’s not, as they say, our first rodeo.
Having said that, this is going to be a challenging game (understatement of the week). In order to have a chance, Asheville has to play tough defense and block Marshall’s passing lanes inside to Henson and Zeller, while containing Harrison Barnes.
Every once in a while, miracles occur. Beating Chapel Hill today won’t be a miracle. It’s highly improbable, given the comparative talent and experience on each team, but it’s not impossible. The Dogs have to have the game of their lives and rely on Carolina being off due to cross-country travel and fresh mountain air.
UNC 89, Asheville 67.