What to Expect

What to anticipate, the right way to watch, as ECU welcomes SMU to Minges

listed here are just some groups East Carolina’s males’s basketball crew has but to sq. off with in American Athletic Convention play this season. The Pirates will cross one other one off the listing on Saturday after they host the SMU Mustangs inside Minges Coliseum. The sport is about for a 4 p.m. ET begin time and can be televised on ESPN+.

ECU is available in struggling, having misplaced seven of its previous eight outings, and the one win in that stretch coming at dwelling over last-place Tulsa. The Pirates fell underneath .500 for the primary time this season general at 11-12 with Wednesday’s eight-point loss at USF. They’re 2-8 in league play and ranked 227 within the NET coming into Friday.

SMU, which has performed among the finest non-conference schedules within the nation, is 8-15 general and ranked 216 within the NET. The Mustangs are 3-7 in league play with two of their wins coming over Tulsa. Additionally they defeated USF – which swept ECU – in league motion.

The matchup would be the first of two conferences this yr between the Pirates and Mustangs. It’s two first-year coaches at their respective faculties going face to face in Rob Lanier (SMU) and Michael Schwartz (ECU). The 2 beforehand served on the identical staffs at Texas and Tennessee underneath Rick Barnes. Schwartz began teaching as a GA in 1999 at Texas when Lanier was an assistant.

“You recognize so many individuals on this enterprise, nevertheless it’s all the time totally different if you compete towards mates or somebody that has type of been a mentor for you,” Schwartz mentioned. “I used to be a GA at Texas and studying the ropes with him and seeing what he was doing together with Coach Barnes. He’s one of many best coaches, no matter if it’s as an assistant coach or as a head coach.

“He’s a pal, I do know his household. It’s such as you’re teaching towards household, in order that’s all the time awkward. However I simply have a lot respect for him as an individual and as a coach. It’ll be an attention-grabbing factor. You don’t get an opportunity to do this typically.”

SMU enters Saturday’s sport averaging 69.2 factors per sport and taking pictures 41.7 % from the ground, together with 31.2 % from 3-point vary. The Mustangs are permitting 74.1 factors per sport and seeing opponents shoot 43.8 % from the ground and 33.1 % from 3-point vary.

Sophomore guard Zhuric Phelps, who was provided by ECU out of highschool, is averaging 16.6 factors per sport to steer the crew. He’s gotten to the free throw line 99 instances, changing at a 67 % charge. Senior guard Zach Nutall leads the Mustangs in 3-point makes an attempt (138). He’s averaging 13.6 factors per sport and is taking pictures 33.3 % from 3-point vary.

A pair of transfers – Troy ahead Efe Odigie and Louisville ahead Samuell Williamson – have each infused life into the Mustangs as effectively. Odigie is averaging 10.7 factors and 6.7 boards per sport. Williamson is scoring at a clip of 8.0 factors and hauling down 7.4 rebounds per sport.

On ECU’s finish, the Pirates are looking for a mixture that works following their fifth consecutive sport with out main scorer and level guard Javon Small. Rotations have been all over at instances for ECU outdoors of mainstays RJ Felton and Brandon Johnson as Schwartz searches for a gaggle that may constantly play effectively.

“You’re all the time looking,” Schwartz mentioned. “The phrase consistency is so essential in sports activities. Of all of the issues guys enhance at, the true take a look at of age is consistency. Expertise hopefully brings consistency. Brandon and RJ have carried out that. Javon, he was beginning to construct in the direction of that. Then there could also be a man we predict is about to show the nook, then the following sport, he’s not there. That’s what we’re attempting to determine and that’s why generally the rotations seem like they do.”

Right here’s the whole lot you should know heading into Saturday’s sport between ECU and SMU.

Date: Saturday Feb. 4

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Web site: Minges Coliseum (Greenville, N.C.)

TV/On-line Streaming: ESPN+

Announcers: Patrick Johnson, Si Seymour

Hear: 107.9 FM regionally in North Carolina