Preview: Asheville vs. Coastal Carolina a.k.a. #occupykimmel

When: Tuesday, 1/17/2012, 7 P.M.
Where: Kimmel Arena
TV: ESPN 3
Radio: WWNC 570/iHeart Radio

In case you forgot, this is what happened the last time Asheville played Coastal.  Also, this. Add in Kimmel-Gate and Asheville’s 7-0 conference record, and you can easily make the case that tonight’s game is the biggest of the regular season for the Bulldogs.

This game is going to be a showcase of Big South basketball, as Coastal Carolina, the #2 team in the conference, comes to town.  Coastal has 4 players averaging double figures, led by guard Anthony Raffa (he of throat-slashing gesture fame) and forward Chris Gadnigo.  Guard Dan Neiman is lethal from beyond the arc, shooting 57% over the season.  Coastal is also BIG, with Gradnigo and Sam McClaurin, along with Jon Pack, providing a size challenge to the small Bulldogs.  I wish we had D.J. Cunningham, but I also wish that I had a million dollars, and neither of those is going to come true before 7 p.m. tonight.

There’s a lot of history between these two teams, and Coastal, in true South Carolina fashion, knows how to keep it classy.  I expect there to be a lot of fouls and maybe some technicals, as passions will run high.

Simply put, the Bulldogs are going to have to come out and replicate the last 30 minutes of the Campbell game in order to beat a talented and big Coastal team tonight.  Playing at home should help, as should the internal motivation to go 8-0 in conference play.  The crowd is going to be electric tonight.  According to the Citizen-Times, almost 2,000 tickets have been sold so far.  Additionally, a large number of supporters will be wearing white as part of a demonstration of support for the players in light of Kimmel-Gate (if you don’t know, read up).  My head has no idea how this game will turn out, but my heart says that the Bulldogs will win this game.

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