Game Preview: East Carolina
The story around Saturday’s UNC-ECU basketball game is of course the return of East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo to Chapel Hill. The former Tar Heel sharpshooter still ranks in the top ten in Carolina history in three point percentage, free throw percentage, three point FGs made, assist/TO ratio and total assists. That stat was from Jones Angell and is very impressive.
Lebo also has the Pirates off to their best start since the ’08-’09 season and the team is coming off a win in which they scored 111 while breaking an 11-year-old school record for three pointers made in a game. Roy Williams previously attempted to schedule games against Lebo when Lebo was coaching at Auburn but was never able to make it happen. UNC assistant coach Hubert Davis was a teammate of Lebo’s at Carolina and Roy of course was an assistant coach at UNC during parts of their respective tenures.
This is only the third time these in-state schools have ever met and first since 1993 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. You of course know UNC would go on to win the national title that season.
- First off let’s marvel at the stellar Photoshop work the East Carolinian does. Photoshop may be kind, there’s a good chance this was done in MS Paint. Can we start a fund to get the East Carolinian the Adobe Suite?
- The player who was terribly cut out above is JuCo transfer Maurice Kemp. At 6’8″, the senior forward leads the team in scoring with 16 points per to go with 8 rebounds. He’s joined by fellow senior, guard Miguel Paul, as the only Pirates to average double figures in scoring.
- Even though ECU lit up (0-8) St. Andrews with a school record 18 threes, the team hasn’t shot that well from down town all season. Coming into Saturday’s game, ECU is shooting 31% as a team from three. Take out the St. Andrews game and ECU is only hitting at a 26% rate. Neither Kemp nor Paul is proficient from long range.
- ECU’s only loss came against an undefeated Charlotte team. Can’t knock them for that. They’ve beaten another former UNC-player-turned-head-coach Wes Miller’s UNCG and a Appalachian State team though, both of which aren’t roll-overs.
- As you might expect, ECU is not the tallest team. It’s leading rebounder is 6’8″ Robert Sampson and there other impact big’s , 6’10” Marshall Guilmette, 6 ppg and 4 rpg aren’t intimidating. How many times are we going to say, “Maybe this is the game UNC’s front court mans up?”
- ECU is 0-44 against AP Top 25 teams on the road. UNC is 21st in this week’s AP poll.
ECU is no slouch but the difference in talent should win out. We emphasize “should.”
Prediction: UNC 88, ECU 72