Tonight’s college basketball schedule includes a nationally-televised battle for first place in the Big South, where Longwood (12-5, 4-0 Big South) visits UNC Asheville (11-6, 3-1 Big South).
The matchup between the Lancers and Bulldogs is set for a 7:00 pm ET tip at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, North Carolina, and you can catch the action on ESPNU.
After going 15-1, winning the North Division title and the conference tournament, and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, the Lancers look like the Big South’s best team again this year.
But tonight’s game will be an opportunity for the Bulldogs to show that there is some competition in the conference and do what only Presbyterian and now-former members Hampton and North Carolina A&T have done in Longwood’s last 30 regular season Big South games.
Will the favored Lancers improve to 28-3 in their last 31 conference games? Or will the Bulldogs protect their home court? Read on for our Longwood vs UNC Asheville basketball prediction and picks.
Longwood vs UNC Asheville Odds
Odds are via FanDuel as of Thursday, January 12, 2023, at 6:15 am ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.
- Longwood -2.5 (-104)
- UNC Asheville +2.5 (-118)
- Over 142.5 (-110)
- Under 142.5 (-110)
- Longwood -137
- UNC Asheville +114
Can Anyone in the Big South Stop Longwood?
In the Big South’s preseason poll, Longwood received 16 of 19 first-place votes. And through the first quarter of conference play, the Lancers have backed up why they are expected to repeat.
Three of their four wins have come by double digits, with their closest game a 79-74 win at Charleston Southern eight days ago.
The Lancers, who have won seven straight games overall since an 81-63 loss at Wichita State on December 10, lead the Big South in scoring at 79.2 points per game.
Four Longwood players are averaging 10+ PPG, led by preseason all-conference selection Isaiah Wilkins (13.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG). But they are a deep, deep team, with nine players averaging at least 7.0 PPG and ten averaging 10+ minutes per game.
Leading Players for Longwood
- G Isaiah Wilkins: 13.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG
- G Walyn Napper: 10.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.7 APG
- G Deshaun Wade: 10.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.1 APG
The best player on either side tonight, however, is UNC Asheville forward Drew Pember, the Big South Preseason Player of the Year.
Just as Longwood has backed up its preseason accolades, Pember has backed up his preseason accolades.
He is second in the conference in scoring (18.9 PPG), first in rebounding (8.9 RPG), and first in blocks (2.8 BPG).
Also, the former Tennessee transfer leads Division I in made free throws per game (6.6) and shoots 83.6% from the stripe.
In his past two games, Pember went 12 of 17 from the line in a four-point win at High Point and 11 of 12 from the line in a three-point win over Campbell, and if he can keep that up tonight, the Bulldogs will have a chance.
Leading Players for UNC Asheville
- F Drew Pember: 18.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.1 APG
- G Tajion Jones: 14.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 47.2% 3PT
- F Nicholas McMullen: 8.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 54.8% FG
Both of these teams shoot well, with UNC Asheville at 48.1% (34th in Division I) from the field and 38.4% (26th) from three and Longwood at 47.1% (64th) from the field and 38.3% (32nd) from three.
Longwood vs UNC Asheville Prediction and Picks
Longwood vs UNC Asheville Prediction: Longwood to win
Longwood vs UNC Asheville Picks: Longwood ML (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook) & Longwood/UNC Asheville over 141.5 (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook & BetRivers)
This shapes up as a real test for Longwood, as they are going up against the best player in the Big South and one of their chief challengers for the conference crown on the road.
But there is a reason why Griff Aldrich’s Lancers are 27-3 in their last 30 regular season Big South games, and I expect them to show that tonight to a national audience.
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