After returning six of the top seven players from the 2011 team that won a "First Four" game against Arkansas Little-Rock before losing in a No. 1 vs. No. 16 game to Pittsburgh, the North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs came into the 2011-2012 season as one of the favorites in the Big South.
They played an extremely difficult non-conference schedule, staying competitive but ultimately losing to UNC, NC State, Connecticut and Tennessee. Of their nine losses, only two came in conference play, and they won the Big South conference championship in both the regular and post-season, cruising to a 80-64 victory over VMI to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
Like most low-major teams, the Bulldogs will have a huge size disadvantage against whoever they face in the Tournament. None of the top eight players in coach Eddie Biedenbach's rotation are above 6'5. On offense, UNC-Asheville prefers to let it fly from beyond the arc, as both of their leading scorers, 6'1" seniors Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm, who average at least 4.8 attempted three-pointers per game.
Just like last season, the UNC-Asheville faces historically tall odds in the first round, facing No. 1 Syracuse as the No. 16 seed in the East.
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