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Bailey's Take on Pirate Hoops

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


When It Comes to Postseason Bids, I'll Take C-USA


Pirates' New Conference Puts Seven in the March Mix

In the Colonial Athletic Association, you win the tournament and you go to the postseason. That’s it.

In Conference USA, the odds are not so long. If you merely have a winning season, you have a great chance to keep playing.

That’s the difference, and that’s why East Carolina was so excited about making the jump to the better basketball league.

Cincinnati, Marquette and Charlotte all made the NCAA Tournament. South Florida, Louisville, Memphis and Houston all made the NIT.

The Pirates had three wins over that group in ECU’s first ever season in Conference USA.

With that said, the Pirates will compete for a postseason spot next season. That will be the East Carolina goal from day one, to play well enough to make it into the NIT or the NCAA.

As soon as the Pirates learn to play better on the road, the odds of making it into the postseason improve dramatically. Remember that East Carolina, playing in the tougher half of Conference USA, was 5-3 at home.

Also, the Pirates were without Gabriel Mikulas and Moussa Badiane earlier in the season. This just might have been a winning season had it not been for the NCAA’s red tape to start the season.

League Looks to Flex Some Muscle in NCAA’s

Cincinnati is the number one seed in the West and the only team in the tournament with 30 victories. The West may be the toughest regional in the field, with many thinking that Oklahoma should have been the top seed instead of the Bearcats.

Cincinnati faces a potential matchup with UCLA in the second round, and will most likely see Ohio State or Miami in the “Sweet 16”.

Charlotte gets a chance to take advantage of the NCAA’s new “pod” policy, which attempts to keep some teams closer to home for the first two rounds. The 49ers will meet Notre Dame in Greenville, SC, and then, with a win, must face the top seed in the East — Duke.

Getting teams to play closer to home worked in some cases, but somebody must have dropped the compass for UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks are in the South Region, playing their first round games in Sacramento, CA. The ‘Hawks will play Southern Cal in that first round matchup.

Marquette is a five seed, and I like the Golden Eagles to make it to the “Sweet 16”. There, they would get a shot at Maryland. Of course, Kentucky stands in Marquette’s path in round two.

Family of Coaching

I had a chance to visit with Pirate Coach Bill Herrion’s brother in Charlotte this week.

Tommy Herrion is an assistant coach at Virginia. He is actually Pete Gillen’s right hand man with the Cavaliers.

The younger Herrion was obviously frustrated with Virginia’s play in Charlotte. When we talked on Thursday, he was still hopeful that his team could turn things around and perhaps sneak into the NCAA tournament — which it didn't.

Tom is very much like the Pirate coach in a variety of ways. Both are hard workers during the game, coaching for a true 40 minutes.

Watching Tom, it got me thinking about what Thanksgiving dinner at the Herrion household might be like. 

“Mom, get that turkey over here, get a screen off the salt shaker,” screams Tom.

“No, no, Mom! Get those hands up, the stuffing is coming out,” yells Bill.

“Great job, Mom, now get back for that apple pie. Move, move….”

“High hands! High hands! The cranberry sauce is open….”

You get the idea. Both are great coaches, and both will be instrumental in getting their respective teams into the NCAA’s over the next couple of seasons.

Enjoy these next couple of weeks of “March Madness.” Stay positive to the program at East Carolina, and the Pirates will soon be very much a part of what is annually one of the great sporting events each year, the NCAA Tournament.

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02/23/2007 01:22:38 AM

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