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Bailey's Take on Pirate Hoops

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 22, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

DePaul Stands in Pirates' Path to Tourney Berth


The saying goes that you have to take little steps before you can take big steps.

With that said, the Pirates aren’t playing for a Conference USA title this year. Rather, they are playing to get the chance to play for the league championship.

The top 12 teams go to the league tournament. At the beginning of the year the preseason prognosticators all predicted the Pirates wouldn’t make the post season party.

Last week’s win over Louisville has changed that thinking for many. East Carolina has proven so far that the team can play with anyone at home.

This week’s game with DePaul is critical for the Pirates' chances of making the postseason event. After the home game with the Blue Demons, ECU makes a rough road swing through Charlotte and Cincinnati, before coming back home to play Saint Louis.

The Pirates' best shot at a win during that four-game stretch is obviously against DePaul. Then, as the regular season winds toward a conclusion, ECU will have arguably 'winnable' home match-ups against Southern Miss, Houston and Marquette.

Last year, Tulane was the 12th seed at 2-14 in the league. With the addition of Texas Christian and East Carolina, the league retains the same format, meaning that two teams won’t make the trip to Cincinnati on March 6th.

“We really want to make the tournament in our first year,” said Pirate Coach Bill Herrion. “I think that would be a great reward for this team, for all of the hard work that they have put in.”

C-USA-ACC Comparison in Eastern Carolina

I had a message on my answering machine last week that ripped us for our coverage of Conference USA on the television side (WNCT-TV 9).

It was on a Friday night when Conference USA had a double-header scheduled for television. Charlotte was playing at South Florida and Southern Miss was hosting Memphis.

I honestly meant to mention the double header after my preview of the ECU-Saint Louis game. We had Bill Herrion talking about the matchup, but our time was tight that night and I didn’t mention the C-USA double dip.

I did mention that Duke, the ACC’s top team after beating Maryland, would host Wake Forest on Sunday. I also mentioned that NC State would host Georgia Tech and that North Carolina was on the road at Connecticut.

The caller’s point was that, since we are based in Greenville, we should ignore the ACC and concentrate just on Conference USA.

I’ve had this debate on the radio before. There is a certain faction out there that believes that any report on the ACC is a slap in the face to East Carolina.

I don’t agree at all. I am a huge ACC fan. I grew up rooting for Virginia, because I lived in the Tidewater area.

I go to the ACC Tournament every year, but that WILL change when East Carolina becomes a fixture in the C-USA event.

My point is that more people with Eastern Carolina ties keep up with the ACC than with C-USA. Most Pirate hoops fans also happen to be fans of college basketball in general.

Granted, if C-USA had 3 teams in the top seven in the nation, things would change somewhat.

I say we have our cake and can eat it too. East Carolina is in an outstanding major college basketball conference.

Just down the road and a little to the west, we have teams in perhaps the most outstanding conference in the nation, while East Carolina’s decision to join C-USA has brought big time basketball to Greenville.

I hope the Pirates will schedule some ACC games within the non-conference framework of their schedule.

Now, we do have the best of both worlds!

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02/23/2007 01:22:23 AM

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