East Carolina will make a record 17 national television appearances during the upcoming season as University athletic officials and the American Athletic Conference revealed the Pirates' entire 2014-15 schedule Thursday.
The Pirates will play nine games against teams that participated in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, including two against reigning champion Connecticut with two additional games each against Cincinnati, Memphis and Tulsa along with a singular contest at North Carolina on Dec. 7, in their first nationally televised game of the season on ESPNU.
The ESPN family of networks will broadcast 14 of the Pirates' 18 American conference games, including two on ESPN3, with the other four airing on CBS Sports Network.
East Carolina will open the season at home for the 10th consecutive year, hosting N.C. Wesleyan in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase (GCS) on Nov. 14. After home dates against UNC Asheville (Nov. 16) and Virginia University at Lynchburg (Nov. 20), the Pirates will travel to Estero, Fla. for the bracketed portion of the pre-Thanksgiving tournament.
Once finalized, the full Gulf Coast Showcase bracket and schedule will be released at a later time.
Following a quick trip home to face Central Connecticut State (Nov. 30), ECU revisits to the Sunshine State to battle Florida Atlantic (Dec. 3) before returning to its home state to take on the Tar Heels, for the second time in three seasons after just two meetings in the previous 60 years.
The Pirates close out non-conference play with home games against James Madison (Dec. 13), Florida A&M (Dec. 22) and UNC Greensboro (Dec. 28) along with their first trip to UNC Wilmington (Dec. 20) since 2008 before opening their inaugural American Athletic Conference campaign on New Year's Eve at home versus fellow conference newcomer Tulane.
East Carolina will then play its next two games on the road, facing former Conference USA rivals USF (Jan. 3) and Cincinnati (Jan. 6) followed by an eight-day layoff before returning home to take on Houston (Jan. 14). The Pirates will then play out of the eastern time zone for the first time during the season with a game against 2014 NIT runner-up SMU (Jan. 17) in Dallas.
The next four games are all against teams that competed in last season's NCAA Tournament with ECU hosting Tulsa on Jan. 24 and welcoming Cincinnati to Minges Coliseum for a Super Bowl Sunday matchup on Feb. 1 with a Jan. 28 date with Memphis sandwiched between.
ECU makes its initial American conference road appearance at reigning national champion UConn on Feb. 4 before returning home to face UCF (Feb. 7) and Memphis (Feb. 10). The Pirates have five home games during the month, concluding with USF (Feb. 21) and a first-ever visit from the national champion Huskies (Feb. 25).
Temple will provide ECU its lone first-time challenge on Feb. 14 in Philadelphia, as the Owls are the only member of the conference which the Pirates have never played. The home schedule concludes with Senior Night against the Owls on March 5 after a game at UCF on Feb. 28.
The Pirates wrap up the regular season at Houston on March 8 and before heading to the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. for the 2015 American Athletic Conference Basketball Championship, beginning March 12.
East Carolina returns two starters and six additional lettermen from last year's squad that received the program's second-straight postseason invitation. Sophomore Caleb White is the Pirates' top returning scorer after averaging 12.4 points per game (ppg) as a freshman with senior Paris Roberts-Campbell close behind at 11.9 ppg.