GREENVILLE, N.C. --- East Carolina University's first men's basketball season in the American Athletic Conference will include a challenging slate of 18 games, including two contests against eight of its 10 opponents, announced Commissioner Mike Aresco Wednesday.
In ECU's initial year in the 11-team league, the Pirates' will play home-and-home series against Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, Temple, Tulsa, UCF and USF. They will also play a single game at home against Tulane and on the road at SMU.
The schedule features a first-ever visit to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum by a reigning national champion, UConn, as well as the Pirates' first trip to Storrs since 1978. Temple is the only league member ECU has never played. It has faced all other eight members previously as Conference USA opponents.
The conference also announced that the 2015 men's basketball championship will be played March 12-15. All 11 American Athletic Conference schools will participate in the championship at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., with the format calling for three first-round games (Thursday, March 12); followed by four quarterfinal games (Friday, March 13); two semifinals (Saturday, March 14) and the championship game (Sunday, March 15). The entire American Men's Basketball Championship will be available across ESPN's national outlets.
East Carolina will return nine letterwinners and four starters from last season's team that went 17-17 and received an invitation to the CollegeInsiders.com Postseason Tournament. Additionally, the Pirates welcome a trio of transfers who practiced with the team all season in Keith Armstrong, Michel Ngeze and Terry Whisnant.
Head coach Jeff Lebo is entering his fifth year at the helm and has registered 73 victories, second-most wins in a four-year span in school history. The Carlisle, Pa. native has guided the Pirates to three postseason appearances, including the 2013 CIT championship.
The complete 2014-15 American Athletic Conference schedule with dates and times will be announced at a later date.
Below is a list of ECU's pairings for 2014-15:
Home and Away: UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Memphis, USF, Temple, Tulsa
Home Only: Tulane
Away Only: SMU