Could a different call in UNCA vs. Syracuse game kept coach in Asheville?

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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biedenbach1Just a what if: What if the refs hadn’t blown a critical call in the 2012 NCAA Tournament game between UNC Asheville and Syracuse. UNCA went on to lose that game, pitting the 16-seeded Bulldogs against the top-seeded Syracuse Orange.

But what if UNCA had won that game? It certainly would have been the biggest victory for Coach Eddie Biedenbach at UNCA, and would have brought national attention and glory.

Alas, Biedenbach has decided to move on. But what if?

Here’s the Deadspin story that inspired the wishful thinking. It examines that UNCA vs. Syracuse blown call and goes from there:

In the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, 16th-seeded UNC-Asheville trailed top-seeded Syracuse by three points with 38.2 seconds remaining, Orange inbounding the ball. This was a big moment for the Bulldogs, and it would prove to be a big moment, too, for a man whose name and face you wouldn’t even recognize. In fact, what happened next in the game would stick with Eddie Corbett for weeks. There was a reason he’d always told his daughter to stay off SportsCenter and Facebook, wasn’t there?

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Bulldog Fan April 25, 2013

    Maybe if UNCA had won that game, Biedenbach would still be here, and Chancellor Ponder wouldn’t be fighting to hold onto her job.

    1. Media Watcher April 25, 2013

      MountainX has a notice of a “called meeting” of UNCA Trustees “to review items in closed session including employment contracts.” Maybe Ponder will be announcing her retirement.

      1. Jason Sandford April 26, 2013

        looks like they announced Nick McDevitt as the new men’s basketball coach

        1. Media Watcher April 27, 2013

          Do you think the other candidates really had a shot?

      2. A bulldog April 26, 2013

        The board of trustees have to sign off on any multi-year contract. The “emergency meeting” was to approve a contract for the new bball coach and didn’t have anything to do with the chancellor.

  2. Radio Follower April 25, 2013

    Despite the loss, UNC-Asheville received a ton of great pub for the loss. However, a win would have shot the Bulldogs into NCAA Tournament history. Who knows what would have happened to Eddie. That was a magical season to be remembered by those who followed it. Forest, it’s a beautiful day outside. Go soak some of it up.

  3. Vlad Emrick April 24, 2013

    But WHY would things have been any different? Biedenbach wouldn’t have left for another school as head coach last year. There’s no market for (then) 65-year old low major head coaches. So what would have changed at UNCA? More money?

  4. Forest Davenport April 24, 2013

    Suppose UNCA had won that game and even gone on to the Final Four. All that would have changed is that the coach would have gotten an offer from a better school and he would have left UNCA earlier. UNCA would not be any better or worse off. NCAA Division I sports does not help the average UNCA student, only the pathetically small few that get “scholarships”. Most of these “scholarship” students could probably pay their own way and allow truly needy students to attend.

    1. A bulldog April 25, 2013

      You obviously didn’t attend any of the Big South championship games last year or watch any of the games at Wild Wing Cafe or in the Union. And you obviously don’t pay attention to how many UNCA blue t-shirts/sweatshirts/etc. are worn around campus (many more over the past 2-3 years).

      Sports play a major role in school spirit and school pride. I’m not saying it SHOULD be that way, but it definitely IS that way. All the students and the university as a whole benefit. Don’t believe me? Let’s just see what happens to the number of applications at Wichita State, LaSalle, or the other schools that exceeded expectations in the tournament.

      1. Curious April 25, 2013

        According to Wikipedia, it doesn’t look like applications at Wichita State jumped very much; and it certainly doesn’t look like they are very selective in their acceptances. So did the basketball program help or was it neutral?

        “For 2012, WSU had 3,515 total freshman applications and admitted 3,347 of those for an admission rate of 95.2 percent, with an entering class of 1,359. In 2011, the university had 3,304 total applicants, admitted 3,102 of them (admission rate of 93.8%) with an entering class GPA of 3.39 amongst the 1,366 students.[16]”

        1. A bulldog April 26, 2013

          Curious, please tell me why would applications rise between 2011 and 2012 when Wichita State went to the Final Four THIS MONTH (2013)? Applications will go up NEXT year, buddy, not last year. Since you like to quote statistics:

          Butler’s applications went up 41% in one year after going to the final four (

          George Mason went to the Final Four in 2006 and increased applications allowed them to be more selective (their admission rate went from 70 percent to just over 50 percent).

          “After Davidson’s Elite Eight run in 2008, applications for the school skyrocketed. Enrollment increased by 300 students, which is large considering Davidson’s undergraduate numbers flirt with the 2,000 mark. Suddenly, there was a housing crisis on campus, which led to two new dormitories.” (

          Check out the effects of VCU’s tournament run (

  5. Forest Davenport April 24, 2013

    Does anyone even give a rat’s ass about this?

    1. Jason Sandford April 24, 2013

      Short answer: yes.


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