Take on Pirate Hoops
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
No Lack of Confidence in the Pirate Camp
Cincinnati Can Be
Beaten, Players Believe
Despite the way they've
played in their last couple of outings, East Carolina’s players think they
can pull off the upset at Cincinnati tonight... Really!
Pirate assistant coach
Richard Morgan was a guest on my show on Monday night on Cable 7 and
WCZI-FM. Morgan says that workouts since the blowout loss to Charlotte have
been good, and that he likes the look of this team.
“They really think they
can win,” said Morgan. “They remember that we played Cincinnati tough in
Greenville without Gabe (Gabriel Mikulas). Now that they’ve got Gabe back,
they really feel good about this game.”
feeling so good about East Carolina. They have installed Cincinnati as a
26-point favorite. The Bearcats were a 19-point favorite when they beat East
Carolina 72-62 earlier this month.
Steve Logan became a
three-time winner of the league’s player of the week award this past week.
The Pirates can only hope that he doesn’t make it four. Logan averaged 26
points and five assists last week for his team.
Cincinnati has an
NCAA-best 19-game winning streak and is ranked
fourth in the nation. It’s the second time in three years that Cincy has
started a season at 19-1.
The Bearcats are also
10-0 at home this season in the Shoemaker Center.
For the Pirates to have
any chance in the game, they’ll have to get better guard play. In their
January 16 win over Louisville, Travis Holcomb-Faye and Brandon Hawkins were
really good. Since then, neither player has matched that kind of intensity.
East Carolina ranks
fourth among all league teams in three-pointers per game. But in that 87-52
loss at Charlotte, the Pirates were just 2-24 from beyond the arc.
Erroyl Bing showed he
could play against the Bearcats in that first match-up. Bing is the only
player in Conference USA who ranks among the Top 11 in both scoring (11th,
14.9 ppg) and rebounding (7th, 8.7 rpg).
Continues to Dominate League
We all knew that East
Carolina was placed in the 'tougher' of the two divisions in Conference USA,
but. I don’t think we realized just how much tougher the American
Division is compared to the National Division.
The league was divided in
1997-98, when the American Division finished 24-12 in crossover games. In
1998-99 and in 1999-00, the American Division won 27 of the games, and lost
just 9 to the other division.
The National did narrow
the gap a bit last year, winning 16 while losing 20, but this season the
American has reestablished its dominance, winning 8 of 11 inter-division
match-ups so far.
Just look at the National
Division this season: Memphis is 7-0, South Florida and Houston are 4-3, and
the rest of the division has losing records. Southern Miss and Texas
Christian are both at 1-6, like East Carolina. UAB is just a game better,
and Tulane is two games better at 3-4.
Granted, you have to beat
good teams to get better. But this transition may have gone a little
smoother with some help from the league in placing the Pirates.
Then again, a couple of
chances to beat Cincinnati and Louisville each year may be just what the
Pirates really look forward to in a couple of years.
ECU has both Southern
Miss and TCU on the schedule later this season. A couple of wins in those
games could go a long way towards cornering a spot for the Pirates in the
league's post-season tournament.
Pirates Have a 'Prime'
Opportunity at Home on Saturday
The Pirates will be
back in Williams Arena on Saturday night, hosting St. Louis. It's a game
that, on the surface, represents as prime a chance as any for ECU to spring
The Billikens beat East
Carolina 85-72 in St. Louis on January 19. It went in the books as a loss
for the Pirates, but the final score was notably closer than was the case a
year ago, when the Billikens bombed ECU in the Savvis Center 90-54.
If the Pirates can get
their legs back from the road trip by the weekend, I think they have a great
chance. Another big crowd certainly wouldn’t hurt, either.
We all knew that wins
would be hard to come by in this first year of the league. But this is
another great shot for a Pirate victory in Conference USA!
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