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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Friday, March 7, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

American Division rigors mask ECU's progress

Replay Monday's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, which aired on WCZI 98.3 FM.  Listen...


Bill Herrion sums up the season with five little words.

“We just aren’t there yet,” says Herrion, really before you ask a question.

But in some regards, the Pirates are there. This team has more talent then probably any team in East Carolina’s basketball history.

The problem lies within Conference USA. It's a problem that is greatly magnified by ECU's residence in the league's powerhouse American Division.

The Pirates are two games behind Southern Miss, which has clinched the final spot in the C-USA post-season tournament. The Golden Eagles have five wins, while the Pirates have just three victories in the league.

Do you know how many wins Southern Miss has over C-USA American Division opponents?

Zero. Nada. None.

The Golden Eagles have five conference wins, all coming against teams from the National Division.

This year, the American Division is 18-8 in head to head games with the National. The American leads the all-time series 133-62.

It’s not just the difference in the divisions. It’s also a matter of which teams are on your schedule, and which teams aren’t.

This year, Southern Miss didn’t play Cincinnati, Marquette and Saint Louis. Those teams have a combined record of 53 wins against 25 losses. The Pirates split with Marquette, lost a pair of Cincinnati, and hope to gain a split in the series with Saint Louis on Saturday.

The Pirates didn’t play Houston, Texas Christian and UAB. Those teams sport a combined record of 32-46.

This information isn’t meant at all as a slam at Southern Miss. I’m just pointing out that the Pirates have a good enough team to compete in one division of Conference USA, the one they're not a part of.

Next year the alignment will be different. The divisional format will be changed to one huge 14-team league for hoops.

As I have written before, even with the Pirates struggling, this program would have likely fared significantly better this season in the National Division.

Conference USA strong at the top

As of this writing, six Conference USA teams are among the nation’s top 54 in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI).

Marquette [6], Louisville [12], Cincinnati [23], Memphis [26], Saint Louis [46] and DePaul [54] all hail from C-USA. The Big 12, Big 10 and SEC all have seven teams, while the Big East also has six.

Here come the Bones

The Jolly Roger may soon be flying high at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Several reports have leaked out about a new logo for East Carolina, one that finally features the skull and crossbones with the East Carolina marks.

Opinions vary on the new “look”. Just one look at the popularity that Tampa Bay has had with the Bucs uniforms and logos tells me that East Carolina could be on the right track.

There are millions to be made on the right “look”. Certain logos just seem to be “cash cows” while others never seem to generate the national interest.

By my count, East Carolina is the only Division 1 football program with “Pirates” as a nickname. Hopefully, these new marks will go a long way into blending in with this new spirit, led by first year coach John Thompson.

Now, if I can just get someone to buy into my idea of building a huge Pirate Ship, similar to the one in Tampa, beside the Murphy Center. What a great place to catch the game!

Then we could fire off several cannons after a Pirate touchdown.

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:26:20 AM

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