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Bailey's Take on Conference USA

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 6, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Pirates Brace for first of Several
Showdowns with Title Implications


This is why you play in a conference.

The 2001 football season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Pirate faithful, but the ultimate goal is still very much in site. The Pirates are three wins, and maybe less then that, away from a Conference USA title.

There are still several scenarios, but a win over Cincinnati and a victory over Louisville would clinch at least a share of the title for ECU.

“I’ve said this for a couple of weeks, that each game gets bigger and more difficult,” said Pirate Coach Steve Logan. “And that’s exactly what we are seeing. We can’t afford to look ahead. We’ve just got to take care of business at Cincinnati and go from there.”

Actually, though, the Pirates have taken at least a glimpse ahead in the schedule. The Pirates used last Thursday and Friday to prepare in advance for Louisville.

“We came back from TCU and slept on Wednesday,” Logan said. “Then, we went out in helmets and looked exclusively at Louisville on Thursday and Friday. This will help us when we get to the short week next week against the Cardinals.”

The Pirates then took Saturday off, and came back to begin the team’s normal week of work, focusing on the next opponent, Cincinnati.

It’s the Bearcats, Louisville and then Southern Miss for East Carolina to close the season. Each game will go a long way in determining the bowl structure for the league.

Logan Doesn’t Blame Defense for Poor 2nd Half

Coach Logan was very encouraged by the play of his defense in the first half of the TCU game.

“The second half was just a case of us turning the football over,” Logan said. “When you turn it over, the other team is energized and things can change in a hurry.”

That first half featured a dominating, smothering defense that we haven’t seen all that much of this season from East Carolina. The second half was a disaster that ended just in time.

Logan, though, says the team did learn one key aspect of football.

“We learned how to win a close game,” said Logan. We really haven’t had that kind of win all year, and that’s important. The way we won that game will help us later in the season.”

Basketball Holds Media Day

Pirate basketball coaches Bill Herrion and Dee Stokes were both on hand on Monday for East Carolina’s annual basketball media day.

Coach Herrion’s Pirates make their preseason debut on Tuesday night. The coach can’t believe it is already time to tip off a real game.

“Our practice time has flown by,” said Herrion. I think we have had some great practices, but there just isn’t enough time to get everything in.”

I had a chance to catch some of Saturday’s Purple-Gold scrimmage. My first impression is that this is the most athletic team, by far, that I have seen in my 17 years of covering East Carolina basketball.

Erroyl Bing looks like he has put on 20 pounds of muscle, and Gabriel Mikulas still has those nice power moves down low.

Travis Holcomb-Faye is having an outstanding preseason at the point. He’s being pushed by Durham freshman Devin Boddie in practice.

ECU Women’s Coach Dee Stokes was a bit under the weather on Monday.

“I’m not feeling well,” she said, “but I’ve still got to get out and make sure the I have a good practice."

Stokes may be a bit weary after coming back from an assistant coaching stint at the World University Games in China this summer.

The ECU women won their first pre-season exhibition game, and hope to provide some surprises in Conference USA this season.

Mikulas, Badiane Currently Ineligible

Gabriel Mikulas and Moussa Badiane are both currently ineligible, after the NCAA’s ruling on foreign players from last week.

“This is the first step in getting both players re-instated,” explained Coach Bill Herrion. “The NCAA has ruled that the maximum number of games a player will have to miss is 8. It’s a 20 percent ruling, so we think that the pair will only miss a game or two. But first, the NCAA has to re-instate both players.”

Herrion noted that he thinks both players will miss at least part of the Pirate’s season opening BCA Tournament in Raleigh.

“We’ll just have to see what the NCAA says,” he said

ECU's opening game in the tourney will be on November 14 against Rutgers of the Big East.

Brian Bailey's C-USA Power Rankings [110601]

1. Louisville…. Cards are nationally ranked, again.

2. East Carolina… Pirates hope to burst Louisville’s run, but that’s next week.

3. Cincinnati… Bearcats need a win to keep their title hopes alive.

4. Southern Miss….Golden Eagles missed another C-USA opportunity against Penn State.

5. TCU… Horned Frogs were pretty good in the second half against East Carolina.

6. UAB…. Blazers can move up with win over TCU.

7. Memphis…. Tigers have a chance to shoot up the poll with win over Tennessee.

8. Army…..Cadets hung tough against Air Force.

9. Tulane… Green Wave was no match for Louisville.

10. Houston…. 0-8 and in search of a miracle at Louisville. Well, there is that saying about “any given Saturday.”

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02/23/2007 01:19:46 AM

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