ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Bulldogs will be the 16th seed in the East Region and take on Big East champion Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament's second round Thursday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Thursday's game will start at 3:10 p.m. and be televised by TruTV with Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller providing the coverage.
This will be the second straight year Asheville has faced the Big East champions. The Bulldogs lost to Big East champion Pittsburgh in last year's second round, 71-47.
Asheville set a school record for wins this season with 24. The Bulldogs went 24-9 and captured the Big South Conference for the second straight year last Saturday with an 80-64 victory over VMI in the league title game at Kimmel Arena.
The Orange (31-2) were ranked number one for part of the season. Syracuse is the overall #2 seed in the tournament.
The Bulldogs are 2-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament appearances. Asheville has twice won opening round games in Dayton, including last year's 81-77 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock. This will be the Bulldogs third appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and Asheville has been a #16 seed each time.
This will be the fourth meeting between Syracuse and UNC Asheville. The Orange have won the previous three meetings, including am 81-63 decision in the 2003-04 season at the Carrier Dome.
The game will be a homecoming for head coach Eddie Biedenbach. Biedenbach is a native of Pittsburgh and played at Edgewood HS before going on to star at N.C. State.
"We've got a great challenge playing Syracuse but we're looking forward to it," commented Biedenbach. "It will be a thrill to go home to Pittsburgh. I still have family there and that will be exciting.
"Syracuse is a great team that can very easily win the national championship," added Biedenbach. "However, we're going to battle as hard as we can and see what we can do. Hopefully, the experience from last year will help us on Thursday."
Bulldog fans can get tickets by contacting Harmon Turner at 828-251-6904 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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