Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scouting Report: UNC Asheville

A team that plays a little 2-3 zone and wants to score in transition. Where have we heard that before? Although Syracuse and UNC Asheville are separated by geography, conference prestige and pedigree, it looks as though their styles of play may bring them together.

Strengths -

  • Experience: Typical of a power at that level, the Bulldogs have played a lot together. They start four seniors and a junior. All them played in last year's NCAA, actually beating Arkansas-Little Rock before losing to Pittsburgh 71-47.

  • Confidence: This team has won back-to-back conference championships and has walked the ubiquitous NCAA-blue carpet before. They may not have the athletes, but shouldn't be intimidated by the moment.

  • Offense: The Bulldogs scored 81.2 points per game this season, fifth best in NCAA. Asheville is 8th nationally in assists per game and, 15th in field goal percentage.

  • Free Throw Shooting: The Bulldogs shoot 76.2% as a team, 15th best. Top scorers Matt Dickey (86.5%) and J.P. Primm (83.8%) ar in Brandon Triche range. Asheville has made 668 free throws this season. Its opponents have shot 671.
Weakness -

  • Size: Starting lineup is 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5 and will be towered over by Syracuse. Asheville's only players taller don't play much. They lost a 6-10 center, D.J. Cunningham to an off-season ACL injury.
Matchup - This may be a refreshing surprise for Syracuse fans turned off by the slow-down tactics of recent Orange opponents, including Cincinnati, who have often simply cycled the ball through the first half of the shot clock. Asheville, like Syracuse, aims for transition offense and thrives off its ability to force turnovers.

North Carolina and Missouri may be the only teams that excel in the open floor like the Orange. Syracuse would love to play that style of game and may find it as a kick starter for an offense that has been a bit out of whack lately.

For more, check out our Google Hangout today at noon and follow me on Twitter @MattPark1.

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