ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A home game at Kimmel Arena with Western Carolina to open the season plus road dates at N.C. State, Ohio State, Northeastern and St. John's highlight the 2012-13 UNC Asheville men's basketball schedule. The 31-game schedule was announced by head coach Eddie Biedenbach on Friday.


"Scheduling was really difficult this season," stated Biedenbach. "With the success we've had the past few years, we had a little tougher time getting games like we had hoped to get.


"The non-conference schedule will be its typical difficult schedule that will challenge this year's club," added Biedenbach. "However, we're used to playing tough non-conference schedules, and this should prepare us for the rigors of the Big South Conference."


The Bulldogs open the 2012-13 campaign at Kimmel Arena on Friday, Nov. 9 when they host mountain rival Western Carolina.  


Asheville's first road test will be at UNC Wilmington on Nov. 11. The Seahawks are coached by Asheville native Buzz Peterson.


For the second straight season, the Bulldogs have been selected to play in a prestigious early-season tournament. Asheville will take part in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in San Juan (Nov. 15-18). The Bulldogs face Tennessee in the first round (Nov. 15) in game that will be televised by ESPNU.


"A benefit of our success the past two years is being invited to prestigious in-season tournaments and this year we get to go a great tournament in Puerto Rico," explained Biedenbach. "The tournament should be a great experience for our fans and our players."


Asheville will have a few days off after returning from Puerto Rick before heading to N.C. State (Nov. 23) the day after Thanksgiving.  


Biedenbach's club begins a three-game homestand against USC Upstate (Nov. 29), followed by Montreat (Dec. 8) and Lenoir-Rhyne (Dec. 12).


Prior to Christmas, the Bulldogs embark on an ambitious three-game road trip. Asheville visits Final Four participant Ohio State (Dec. 15), Northeastern (Dec. 18) and St. John's (Dec. 21).


The Blue & White host Bluefield (Dec. 30) at Kimmel before beginning another three-game road trip to start 2013. Asheville will journey to Charlotte (Jan. 2) before opening Big South Conference play on the road at Liberty (Jan. 5) and Gardner-Webb (Jan. 9).


 The Bulldogs' first Big South Conference home game will be Radford (Jan. 12). Asheville travels to Charleston Southern (Jan. 16) for an early-season showdown as the Buccaneers could be the preseason favorites in the Big South this year.


The Bulldogs return to Kimmel to start a three-game homestand against league newcomer Longwood (Jan. 19), followed by Coastal Carolina (Jan. 23) and High Point (Jan. 26).


Asheville ends January with a game at Presbyterian College (Jan. 30).  The Dogs begin February at Campbell (Feb. 2) and come home to take on Winthrop (Feb. 6). A rematch of the 2012 Big South Conference title game will take place at VMI (Feb. 8) before the Bulldogs entertain Gardner-Webb (Feb. 13) and Charleston Southern (Feb. 16).


The Bulldogs finish February with a game at Coastal Carolina (Feb. 19) and two home games at Kimmel. Asheville hosts an opponent in the BracketBuster series on Feb. 23. The opponent will be announced by ESPN in late January or early February. The Bulldogs finish their home schedule against Presbyterian College on Feb. 27. Asheville's final regular-season game comes at Winthrop (March 2).


The Bulldogs will try to defend their back-to-back Big South Conference titles at Coastal Carolina from March 5-10.   


The Bulldogs are looking to win their third straight Big South Conference championship this season. Asheville won both the league's regular season and tournament championships in 2012. Biedenbach's club finished a school-record 24-10 overall last year and went a school-best 16-2 in league play.