GAME NOTES: As the curtain opens on Conference USA action, the Pirates of East
Carolina are set to invade FedEx Forum to tangle with the Memphis Tigers.
East Carolina brings a 9-4 overall record into Wednesday's league opener. The
Pirates won five straight to open the 2012-13 season, but are 4-4 since,
including 1-3 in road games. The duo of Maurice Kemp (18.1 ppg) and Miguel
Paul (12.1 ppg) pace the Pirates offense. Robert Sampson leads ECU on the
glass with 9.0 rpg, while Kemp is second at 8.8 rpg. Paul leads the team with
54 assists, averaging 4.9 per game, while Akeem Richmond is the squad's top 3-
point threat at 42.9 percent. The Pirates are shooting 45.8 percent from the
floor overall, 31.8 percent from beyond the arc and 67.8 percent from the
charity stripe. East Carolina is out-rebounding its opponents by an average of
+2.5 boards per game (39.0-36.5). The Pirates lead C-USA in assists per game
(18.0) and average the third-fewest turnovers (12.6). The Pirates have the
league's second-best scoring offense (79.2) and fifth-best field goal
ECU finished its non-conference schedule with nine victories, equaling its
non-conference win total of a year ago. The Pirates had their second 90-point
game of the year and seventh 80-point game in their recent win over NC
Wesleyan (91-60). ECU went over 80 points in a game nine times in the previous
two seasons combined. Kemp became the first Pirate in nearly three years to
lead his team in points (19), rebounds (10), assists (6) and steals (3). Kemp
recorded his sixth double-double of the season and established a career-high
for assists. The Pirates distributed over 20 assists for the fourth straight
game. East Carolina scored a season-high 33 points off turnovers.
With a win over East Carolina, the Tigers would make Conference USA history.
Memphis will post its 200th C-USA victory, becoming the first school in league
history to reach that milestone. The Tigers enter Wednesday's game with a
199-65 all-time Conference USA record. Memphis is at or near the top of a
multitude of C-USA statistical categories, including scoring offense (74.8
ppg) and second in field goal percentage (.478), first in blocked shots (5.5
bpg), third in assists (15.8 apg), second in steals (10 spg), second in
turnover margin (+2.1) third in assist/turnover ratio.
Joe Jackson leads a balanced attack, dropping in 13.7 ppg, one of the Tigers
averaging in double figures. Joining him are Geron Johnson (11.1 ppg), Tarik
Black (10.9 ppg) and Adonis Thomas (10.7 ppg).
This has been a decidedly one-sided rivalry over the years. The Tigers are a
near perfect 12-1 versus the Pirates and have never lost to them at home.
Memphis easily took both meetings last season, winning 70-59 in Greenville and
then 70-47 in Memphis. The Pirates' sole win in the series came in Greenville
on March 2, 2011 (68-57).
Memphis has owned this series and while the Pirates have had a successful
start to the season, the Tigers simply have too many weapons and they play
very well at home. Although it won't be easy, expect Memphis to continue their
dominance over East Carolina by notching a solid win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 71, East Carolina 64
Coach K ready for another run at gold When USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo heard that Mike Krzyzewski would not return to Team USA following the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, he swore he would take the Duke head coach out for "pizza and wine" to convince him to come back. Turns out, all he needed was room service chicken fingers with the legendary coach and a one-on-one meal with Krzyzewski's wife Mickie.
Coach K reintroduced as Team USA coach At a press conference Thursday, Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski confirmed that he would rejoin Team USA and coach both the next world championships and the Olympics in 2016.
Bullock's advantage at draft time Jonathan Wasserman, NBA Draft expert for The Bleacher Report discusses the draft prospects of Triangle areal players with The World's Strongest Morning Show on 620 the Buzz.