Asheville begins a busy week Monday night as the Bulldogs play three games in a six-day period. Eddie Biedenbach's team opens the season at N.C. State Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a home date with top-ranked UNC Chapel Hill on Sunday at 4 p.m. The game with the Tar Heels is sold out and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
There's much to be optimistic about in Bulldog country as Asheville welcome's back four starters from last year's championship team. Veteran coach Eddie Biedenbach is cautiously optimistic about this year's club. The Bulldogs are the preseason favorite to win the Big South Conference.
"I've been here for 15 years, and the build-up for this season is the most I have ever seen," stated Biedenbach, the Big South's all-time winningest coach. "With the returnees we have back, the success we had last year and our new arena, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the season.
"However, our guys know it took a tremendous amount of effort and sacrifice to accomplish what we did last season," he added. "We're going to need that kind of effort and even more this year. UNC Asheville will have a target on its back from day one. But I believe our guys understand that the target is on their back and welcome the opportunity to win another championship."
Heading up the returnees is senior guard Matt Dickey. Dickey is the Big South Conference Pre-Season Player of the Year after averaging 15.7 points per game. Senior guard J.P. Primm averaged 14.6 points per game and made the Big South's Preseason All-Conference team. Also returning are senior forwards Chris Stephenson (9.2 ppg) and Quinard Jackson (5.2).
Asheville faces a Lees-McRae team that went 6-20 last year.
"Lees-McRae will be much improved this year. We've played them before and they always give us a tough game," admitted Biedenbach.