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Jeff Eisenberg

Tar Heels will christen UNC Asheville's new arena in 2011

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For mid-major programs complaining they can't get home games against elite programs, UNC Asheville has just provided a far-fetched but foolproof blueprint for how to get such a deal done.

First make plans to build a new arena. Then solicit donations from the coach of the in-state power down the road. And finally roll out the red carpet and invite that coach's team to christen the new arena on opening night.

Believe it or not, that worked for Asheville, which will host North Carolina at soon-to-be-built Kimmel Arena to open the 2011-12 season, according to the Asheville Citizen. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, who grew up in Asheville, donated $100,000 earmarked to the contruction of the new arena.

"We want the grand opening for the men to be a situation like bringing in North Carolina, so we can put our best face forward in front of a large group of people," Asheville athletic director Jane Cone said.

"We know it's going to be a popular ticket. We have a lot of Carolina fans, our students, faculty and staff, folks here in Asheville, our university donors, and Roy's friends and family — they all will want to come to this game."

North Carolina last played in Asheville in 1995 in front of a sellout crowd of more than 7,000 people. Asheville's new arena only seats 3,800, but rest assured school officials will find a way to jam as many bodies in as possible to welcome the Tar Heels.

The only problem Asheville may have inviting North Carolina is that Williams doesn't exactly have the best track record with rowdy opposing fans. If Williams can have a Presbyterian fan kicked out of the Dean Dome for shouting at a Tar Heel player shooting free throws, think what he can do to a unruly Asheville supporter in a house that he actually helped build.

(Thanks, College Basketball Nation)

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