Long Beach preparing to host UNC in 2012

Long Beach State is playing at North Carolina for the second straight season and already excited about the part of the deal that includes a third meeting. The Tar Heels return the game and come to play in Long Beach at the start of the 2012-13 season.

Right around the time North Carolina heads west to play in the 2012 Maui Invitational next November, Long Beach State will get the Tar Heels on home turf. According to the Daily 49er, athletic director Vic Cegles is already making preparations for a record-setting crowd by funding a temporary expansion of about 2,000 seats in the Pyramid.

The men's basketball team, which set an attendance record of 5,143 in last season's home opener against then-No. 25-ranked San Diego State, will be hosting perennial powerhouse UNC on Nov. 18, 2012.

Cegles said that LBSU head coach Dan Monson's friendship with UNC head coach Roy Williams aided in the process of scheduling the Tar Heels.

"Scheduling a top-10 team at home provides the 49ers and the university national recognition," Cegles said, "and acknowledges the quality of the program and respect for our basketball tradition. Obviously, winning the game enables you to build a stronger schedule for the future and generates new revenues from ticket sales."

Long Beach State this season returns a senior-laden roster that has already experienced going to Chapel Hill and losing by only five points. The 49ers played especially well in the second half last December, outscoring North Carolina 57-48, and should carry that confidence into this year's Dec. 10 game.

Yes, it's going to be difficult for Long Beach State to pull off any upset wins as part of the three-game series. But for a Big West program to have North Carolina on its home floor next year should be a great event in Southern California.

If No. 25 San Diego State drew the largest crowd in the history of the Pyramid crowd, the excitement level for a game against the Tar Heels should be off the charts.