On June 19, the American Athletic Conference announced the men’s basketball matchups for the 2019-2020 season. East Carolina University will host the University of Houston and the University of Connecticut, and will play both teams once during the regular season.
Although the Pirates caught a break with only having to face the University of Memphis once during the regular season, they still have to face three teams that participated in the NCAA tournament last season.
ECU will play the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, Temple University, the University of Tulsa, and Tulane University. Each of these games will be split between one game in Minges and one game away.
During the 2018-2019 season, ECU went 10-21 for non conference games and 3-15 in the AAC. The announcement of the 2019-2020 schedule gives the team a view of the difficulty of the upcoming conference games.
ECU will travel to play the University of Memphis and Wichita State University away, and both teams participated in last season’s NIT Tournament.
Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston all played in last season’s NCAA Tournament, and have the majority of the team returning for this season, which may prove tough for an ECU team who’s rebuilding and losing several transfers.
UCF may have lost center Tacko Fall, who was undoubtedly the biggest name that was drafted on all three teams, but UCF may have already found a suitable replacement.
Moses Bol is a junior, 7 foot center from Colby Community College in Kansas that is sure to fill the “big man” role that Fall left open.
The Knights also lost Chad Brown, BJ Taylor and Aubrey Dawkins to the NBA, but UCF has returning juniors and seniors that will fill those gaps in the roster, and can still give ECU trouble.
On the other hand, ECU will not play Memphis and the team’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class at home. Although ECU could have packed Minges Coliseum to full capacity with the popularity around this Memphis team, the Pirates have caught a huge break by not having to play them twice.
The 2019-2020 Memphis team appears to be filled to the brim with talent, and is certainly the favorites to be the No. 1 team in the AAC, and to win the AAC tournament.
While the updated ECU roster could put up a fight against Memphis, the likelihood of ECU winning both games in a two game series is improbable with the talent level the team would be facing.
The loss of redshirt junior guard Shawn Williams will negatively affect ECU’s three point shooting, as Williams held the highest percentage from three on the roster.
Offseason acquisitions of transfers Tyrie Jackson and Tremont Robinson will help improve ECU’s shooting as a whole, but only time will tell to see if it is improved enough during the season.
Although the announced AAC schedule seems daunting, ECU has plenty of time to prepare in the offseason and get a few more recruits to combat some clearly talented opponents within the conference.
The official dates and times of each game, as well as a full schedule including ECU’s non-conference games have yet to be announced.