Nov. 8, 2013
Carver-Hawkeye Arena - Iowa City, Iowa

THE TIP-OFF: The 63rd season of intercollegiate basketball at UNCW gets under way tonight when the Seahawks travel to America’s heartland to take on Iowa in the 2013-14 season opener. It’s the first leg of a two-game season-opening swing that also takes the Seahawks to Iowa State on Sunday.

THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is beginning his 16th season with a 258-206 (.556) overall record and 33-59 (.359) mark in three seasons with the Seahawks. Iowa’s Fran McCaffery opens his 18th season with a 305-227 (.573) record overall and 54-50 (.519) in Iowa City.

THE PLAYERS: The probable starters for the Seahawks include Ben Eblen (6-1, 185, Gr. Guard, Freddie Jackson (6-4, 185, Jr., Guard), Chris Dixon (6-0, 190, Sr., Guard), Cedrick Williams (6-9, 225, Jr., Forward), Dylan Sherwood (6-9, 215, R-Soph., Forward). The probable starters for the Hawkeyes include Roy Devyn Marble (6-6, 200, Sr., Guard), Mike Gesell (6-1, 190, Soph., Guard), Adam Woodbury (7-1, 245, So., Center), Melsahm Basabe (6-7, 220, Sr., Forward), Aaron White (6-9, 220, Jr., Forward).

JUMP BALL: Tonight’s game is the earliest start in school history, eclipsing a 98-91 overtime victory over the College of Charleston on Nov. 10, 2007, at Trask Coliseum.

FAST BREAK: The Seahawks are 20-17 overall in season openers since joining the D-I ranks in 1976-77.  UNCW stands 5-15 in season openers on the road and has lost three in a row in true road openers. UNCW’s last season-opening win away from home came on Nov. 21, 2003, in a 65-56 verdict over Marshall in Huntington, W.Va.

THE SERIES: Tonight marks the first game between the two clubs. It’s also only the second team from the state of Iowa the Seahawks have faced (Northern Iowa).

OPENING MINUTES: The Seahawks will keep their bags packed early in 2013-14, playing six of their first eight games away from Trask Coliseum. Tonight’s contest opens a three-game road swing. After returning to Wilmington for their home opener on Nov. 16 against Wingate, the Seahawks head back on the road for three more outings.

TIP-INS: Iowa will be the eighth Big Ten Conference opponent the Seahawks have played through the years. UNCW owns a 3-8 mark against the loop, beating Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State. UNCW’s last Big Ten foe was Purdue. The Boilermakers cruised, 66-40, last November (Nov. 21, 2012) in West Lafayette in the fourth game of the season for the Seahawks.

BENCH TALK: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is squaring off against the Hawkeyes for only the second time in his career. He brought his Tulsa club to Iowa City during the 2000-01 season and dropped a 66-65 score to the Hawkeyes in the championship game of the Hawkeye Classic.

INTERESTING FACTS: The journey to Iowa City - a total of 1,124 miles - is the longest trip of the season for the Seahawks. Carver-Hawkeye Arena will also be the largest facility the Seahawks will play in this year.

BUZZ (PETERSON) BITES: “This will be a very challenging trip for us to start the season. Iowa is an excellent basketball team that is well coached. They might have more depth than anyone in the country. They just keep coming and coming in off the bench. We learned a lot in our two exhibitions, but this will be a big upgrade in talent and a major challenge for our guys.”                                                                              

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME: If you can’t make it to the game, there are several ways to follow the action. Twitter: @UNCWmenshoops; Live Stats: UNCWsports.com; Television/Internet: ESPN3.com; Radio: Sunny 107.5 FM-Wilmington, N.C.

ON THE HORIZON: The Seahawks travel the 130 miles across the state to Ames early Saturday and practice that day in preparation for Sunday’s 1 p.m. start against Iowa State’s Cyclones. It’s another first-ever matchup for Buzz Peterson’s club.