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Sleeping with the Enemy: The 49ers of UNC Charlotte

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Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown get set to face the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday and as usual we're bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent.  Since Georgetown is UNDEFEATED and clearly CANNOT LOSE when we go head to head with Mid Major Madness in this feature, we're at it once again.  Let's do this!


Tell us something about UNC-Charlotte, the school, that we might find interesting.

The school was without football for 57 years when they started looking into starting it back up. When they finally did vote to begin football, they asked for fans to come up with $5 million to jump start the program.


Charlotte has already played three overtime games and two more decided by one possession. Has this season been fun, or torture? Also, how's your ulcer?

The 49ers will certainly give you an ulcer from watching them. They have played extremely well in several games against quality teams and they have come out on top in a couple of them. Against two smaller schools, Asheville and Charleston, it seemed like they came out unfocused and had to play from behind in order to squeak out the win.


Who are some of the guys on this 49ers team that the Hoyas need to watch out for?


Everyone will focus on the bigs and rightly so. Mike Thorne, Jr. is a monster on the offensive glass and he and Willie Clayton combine for over 16 rebounds per game. Pierria Henry is what makes the team go; when is he playing well the rest of the team responds. Keep an eye on freshman Keshawn Woods - he hits 59.3% from downtown.


This is Alan Major's fifth season at the helm of the 49ers. What's your assessment of his tenure? Given that it's been 10 years since Charlotte made the NCAA Tournament (after making 7 tournaments in the previous 10 years), are the 49er faithful growing impatient?


There's certainly anxiety from the fans to get back to the level they are used to seeing. Major increased the team's win total every year he has been at the helm until last year; they went from 21 wins to 17 a season ago. Thorne and Clayton are juniors, so he has building blocks in place to have two really good years.


Like Georgetown, Charlotte has been affected by the musical chairs known as conference realignment, with the 49ers moving from Conference USA to the Atlantic 10 back to Conference USA. Why the latest move, and what do you think of Conference USA redux?

I think Conference USA will be a benefit, and I think football adds a level of awareness to the school and it's athletic programs that will help the other sports. There's no Cincinnati or Memphis anymore but I still think the league can be a two-bid league going forward.


What are your expectations for the 49ers each season? Is it anything more than ‘hopefully be competitive in CUSA and maybe win the Conference Tournament to make the Dance'?

I think the expectations should be to make the tournament. Nobody in CUSA, outside of UTEP, can match up with the 49ers inside. Charlotte has a tough enough schedule that they could earn an at-large berth if they have a great conference season and make it to at least the semifinals of the conference tournament.


How do you see CUSA shaping up this season? Who gets the auto-bid?

The auto-bid will be fought for by four teams most likely. UTEP and Charlotte have the size advantage. Louisiana Tech hasn't been to the tournament in over 20 years and their seniors are focused. Old Dominion is playing better than anybody right now.


Please detail your ideal pizza, from crust to toppings, and where am I getting this particular pie from?

I had to phone a friend on this one, but my intel says that Brixx is the place to go. Order the Americo, which is the traditional pepperoni. I concur with this choice, pepperoni and extra mozzerrella are the only way to go when it comes to pizza.


What's your perception of the Georgetown basketball program?

I came up watching basketball in the late 80's and early 90's and teams like UNC, Georgetown, and Arkansas caught my interest from the start. Georgetown is a national power, making it to the NCAA tournament almost every year. It will take landing the right player to lead the Hoyas back to the Final Four, but it will come soon enough.


I was surprised to learn that Charlotte made a Final Four, in 1977. I was very pleased to learn that the 49ers beat Syracuse during that NCAA Tournament run. As you may know, Syracuse is the root of all evil. I do not have a question here.



Final score prediction?

Neither team is scoring a ton of points this year. Charlotte has played several big games this year, including Miami twice. I don't think they will be star struck. I think it will be a competitive, hard fought game. Georgetown 76, Charlotte 71.