We have our first official dance participant, as UNC-Asheville knocked off VMI in the Big South championship game, 80-64. Five players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs, who dominated the second half en route to the victory.
Asheville dominated the Big South regular season for much of the campaign, losing just two games and winning the league by four games. The Bulldogs have one of the nation’s most underrated backcourts in Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm, two experienced players who have been to the NCAA tournament before. Five guys average in double-figures and they really get up and down the floor.
Located in Asheville, N.C., the Bulldogs have been to the NCAA tournament twice in the past decade, going 2-0 in “play-in” games. Eddie Biedenbach’s group is going to be a pain for whichever No. 1 seed it faces. This year’s group is better than last season’s squad, which finished third in the conference but won the automatic bid.
Player to know: Matt Dickey. The 6-foot-1 senior guard is coming off a 15-point, six-assist, five-steal performance in the title game against VMI. He’s the team’s best scorer and has topped 20 points eight times this season. Dickey averaged 21.5 points last season in Asheville’s two NCAA tournament games.
- Record: 24-9 overall, 16-2 in the Big South
- Most recent tournament appearance: 2011, No. 16, beat Arkansas-Little Rock 81-77 in the opening round before losing 74-51 to Pittsburgh.
- We’re thinking: 16
- KenPom ranking: 123
- Sagarin ranking: 128
- RPI: 115
- Best wins: USC-Upstate, Charleston Southern
- Worst losses: Western Carolina, Coastal Carolina
- Notable stat: UNC-Asheville ranks fourth nationally in free-throw percentage and fourth in free-throw rate.
-- Jeff Borzello