GREENVILLE, N.C. --- The East Carolina University men’s basketball team will begin its first-year of competition under new coach Jeff Lebo Friday, Nov. 12 against Erskine College inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Six days later the Pirates will travel south to participate in the third-annual Charleston Classic at the Carolina First Center in Charleston, S.C. with a first round game against N.C. State.
The 2010-11 ECU basketball schedule, which was released Wednesday by University officials, includes at least 16 games against teams that participated in post-season play last March, including three home games against NCAA Tournament teams: Houston, Old Dominion and UTEP.
“This is a very challenging and demanding schedule that we will be facing this season,” Lebo said. “We are playing a lot of extremely talented teams this year both in Conference USA and during the non-conference season.
“The non-conference schedule gives us the opportunity to test ourselves and prepare for the rigors of conference play.”
In addition to Houston, ODU and UTEP, the Pirates’ 14-game home also consists of visits from NIT participants UAB and Memphis to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. After a Nov. 12 exhibition game against Montreat, the home line up will see in-state foes Campbell, Charlotte and UNC Greensboro before the close of the fall semester as well as a visit from Lenoir-Rhyne.
ECU will play N.C. State in the opening round of the Charleston Classic on Thursday, Nov. 18 and then will face either Charlotte or George Mason on Friday, Nov. 19. On Sunday, Nov. 21, the Pirates will play either 2010 NCAA Tournament participant Georgetown, 2010 Southern Conference champion Wofford, NIT team Coastal Carolina or USC Upstate, led by former Pirate coach Eddie Payne.
The Pirates will conclude non-conference play with four consecutive road games. ECU will face Coastal Carolina at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and George Washington in Washington, D.C. following the exam break. Once returning from the Christmas break, the Pirates venture to Clemson (Dec. 29) to face the Tigers for fifth time in the last seven seasons. Non-conference play concludes at N.C. Central on Jan. 3.
The Pirates’ begin their 10th season in Conference USA on Jan. 8 at five-time champion Memphis. The Tigers are one of five teams that ECU will play home-and-home with in 2010-11, joining Marshall, Southern Miss, UAB and UCF.
Along with Houston and UTEP, the Pirates will also welcome Tulane to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. ECU will be on the road for conference games against Rice, SMU and Tulsa.
The 2011 Conference USA Championship will be held March 9-12 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.