The almost completely revamped East Carolina basketball team will begin its second season under coach Joe Dooley with trips to Annapolis, Md., and the Bahamas with an opportunity to get off to a fast start.
After opening with a home game against VMI on Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Pirates will travel to Annapolis to play host Navy as part of the annual Veterans Classic. Then after playing on the road at Appalachian State and at home against Liberty, ECU will head to Nassau for a matchup with Evansville in the first round of the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase on the weekend of Nov. 22-24.
With no big name programs in the field, this is an event the Pirates can use to starting building some momentum for what promises to be a difficult American Athletic Conference schedule.
ECU will feature 11 new players that weren’t on the roster last season, when the Pirates went 10-21. Sophomore Jayden Gardner, a 6-foot-6 who averaged 16.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season, is the only healthy returner. Senior Seth LeDay is also still with the team, but his availability is still in question as he rehabs from surgery on a torn ACL.
Other highlights of the 2019-20 schedule, which was officially released on Friday, includes a stretch of eight home dates in a nine-game stretch — including AAC games against South Florida (Jan. 7), SMU (Jan. 11) and Tulsa (Jan. 15). The only road game interrupting the extended homestand is on New Year’s Day at Wichita State.
AAC power Houston makes its annual visit to Minges Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Cincinnati comes to town on Sunday, Feb. 16. One team that won’t be coming to Greenville this season is preseason conference favorite Memphis. The Pirates and Tigers will only play once, in Memphis on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
The AAC tournament is in Fort Worth, Tex., on March 12-15.