Take on C-USA Basketball
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, January 11, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
ECU-Charlotte Rivalry About to Heat Up
East Carolina has a new 'biggest rival' in basketball.
Much like the CAA, where East Carolina and UNC
Wilmington were rival mates, Conference USA includes the Pirates and
Charlotte. The league’s Carolina entries are set to battle Saturday at
The two teams have met eight times before, splitting
the series at four and four, but now the intensity of the rivalry is about
to take on a whole new dimension.
Former Farmville Central standout Jarvis Lang was a star for what was then
UNC-Charlotte in the early 1990’s. Lang enjoyed coming back to play East
Carolina, and large crowds were the norm in those games between the Pirates
and the 49ers.
Charlotte has a great history in Conference USA, being the only team to have
won a couple of tournament championships. The 49ers hold the records for the
most league tournament victories (13) and championship game appearances (4).
Joining Conference USA gives this Pirate program a legitimate shot at
post-season play every year. Check out Charlotte's example: The Niners
advanced to the NCAA second round for the fourth time in five years this
past season and have earned a spot in post-season play in seven of eight
Obviously, it will take time for Bill Herrion to navigate ECU to the level
that it also has a chance to battle for a league title. But the opportunity
is there — just look at Saturday’s opponent.
49ers Come Up Short at No. 10 Cincinnati
Charlotte will come to Greenville after falling to Cincinnati 71-58 on
Tuesday night. Jobey Thomas, who scored 26 points in the loss to the
Bearcats, leads the 49ers. He is averaging 27.5 points per game over his
last two contests and is just the eighth player in league history to surpass
the 1,400-career point plateau.
Cam Stephens had his second straight double-double —
his fifth of the season — and is averaging 13.8 points and 10.5 rebounds
while shooting nearly 58 percent from the floor in his last six outings.
Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz notched the 250th victory of his head
coaching career and his 69th at Charlotte with a 76-68 triumph over No. 25
Marquette on January 5.
Pirates, Despite Winless League Mark, Have Been
Nobody said this Conference USA stuff was going to be easy. ECU has held its
own, though, in the two losses so far.
The crowd on Saturday night was great, but the team really deserved a
sellout. The 7,143 fans in attendance represented the largest crowd at
Minges Coliseum since February 20, 1999, when the Pirates took on
UNC-Wilmington in front of 7,311.
ECU is hoping for another big crowd on Saturday, but the noon start may
dampen that enthusiasm. Television dictates the start time in all college
sports, and once again, an East Carolina home crowd will be down because of
the early start. (See ECU vs. Southern Miss at 11 a.m. on the day after
College Hoops Craziness Continues
I bet you didn’t know that North Carolina’s biggest loss in school history
came against the Lynchburg Elks back in 1915. The Heels lost that game by 43
Maryland almost beat that mark in College Park on Wednesday night. The Terps
called off the dogs early, and still won by 33.
I bring this up because the Carolina downfall is just a part of what has
been a crazy season to date, and it’s not even mid-January yet.
Check out Wednesday night’s scoreboard. Top ranked Kansas was an easy
winner, but there were several upsets or near-upsets:
Georgia beat 8th ranked Kentucky in Lexington. 9th
ranked Illinois traveled to Purdue and suffered a nine-point loss. 3rd
ranked Florida needed overtime to slip past Tennessee.
It’s this way just about every night. Duke is no longer
invincible in the ACC. Cincinnati will stumble a couple of times in
It’s absolute craziness every night out. Hang on, it’s still early. Here’s
hoping the Pirates get in on the upset parade, beginning with Charlotte on
Saturday at high noon.
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02/23/2007 01:22:21 AM