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The Scouting Report: East Carolina Pirates

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The Pirates have not been having a good season, but their most recent win gives them some confidence heading into their match-up with UConn.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 9-12, 2-6 AAC
Head Coach: Jeff Lebo

Kenpom: 230
RPI: 242
BPI: 233

East Carolina is coming off their best win of the season, a 50-46 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats.  Freshman B.J. Tyson led the way with 18 points off the bench, while the Pirates' defense held the Bearcats to just 35.6% shooting and 3-18 from three.  East Carolina's only other victory in the AAC came against Houston, as Caleb White led the way with 14 points in a 66-61 win.  The Pirates have had three conference losses by single digits.

While the Pirates do not stand well statistically on the offensive end, they are one of the better teams in the American at shooting the three-ball.  Despite just shooting 33.7% from three throughout the season, they are shooting 37.1% from behind the arc in conference play which ranks first in the AAC.

East Carolina will go as many as 10 or 11 deep and have two players averaging over 30 MPG and three more averaging over 20 MPG.

Key Players

#0 Terry Whisnant, Junior, Guard (6-3, 180): A transfer from Florida State who is averaging 13.7 PPG and 2.2 RPG in just over 30 MPG.  Whisnant can shoot it with range and has the ability to flat out score the basketball.  He is shooting 43.2% from the field and 39.7% from behind the arc.  The junior guard was counted on big time heading into the season and he has produced for Jeff Lebo's squad.  Whisnant is averaging 14.3 PPG in conference play and is 26-56 from three.

#21 B.J. Tyson, Freshman, Guard (6-3, 190): The sixth man for Jeff Lebo's squad, Tyson is averaging 12.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG this season.  He is very versatile on the offensive end and can play either point guard or off the ball.  The freshman has been an immediate scorer for the Pirates, something they were looking for heading into the season.  Tyson is shooting 43.4% from the field but just 10-41 from deep on the year.  He is averaging 9.5 PPG and 4.4 RPG in conference play while shooting 42.6% from the field.

#2 Caleb White, Sophomore, Guard (6-7, 190): Averaging 11.9 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 30.5 MPG while shooting 41.6% from the field and 37.4% from three.  White is a good shooter, but Lebo wants to see him be more aggressive, especially on the offensive end.  He has all the tools to be a great player but has been too passive in the past according to his coaching staff.  White can play many different positions for the Pirates due to his ball-handling ability as a taller player.  He is averaging 9.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in AAC play while shooting 14-45 from behind the arc.

#13 Michael-Okif Nzege, Sophomore, Forward (6-7, 215): A transfer from the Division II level who has provided much needed depth in the frontcourt.  Nzege is averaging 6.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG while shooting 64.9% from the field.  He is a native of Switzerland who has a strong work ethic and is an excellent rebounder.  He is averaging 5.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG in conference play.

#22 Paris Roberts-Campbell, Senior, Guard (6-3, 185): One of two seniors on the squad who plays quality minutes, Roberts-Campbell has only played 10 games this season due to a knee injury suffered in the preseason.  He is averaging 5.9 PPG and 2.4 RPG on the season while shooting 35.8% from the field and 14-39 from deep.  The senior has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career but he is a good defender who provides leadership on the court.  He is averaging 4.5 PPG in AAC play while shooting 10-28 from behind the arc.

#11 Antonio Robinson, Senior, Guard (6-4, 175): The other senior on the team who plays quality minutes, Robinson leads the team in assists at 3.3 per game while also averaging 3.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 1.5 SPG.  He is a good passer who does not like to shoot the ball much as he is only 26-74 from the field and 5-15 from three this season.  Robinson is averaging 3.6 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.6 SPG in conference play.

East Carolina is coached by Jeff Lebo who is in his fifth season with the Pirates where is he is 82-73.  He has led East Carolina to two winning seasons, including a 23-12 record in the 2012-13 season that ended with a CIT championship.  Before East Carolina, Lebo coached at Auburn for six years where he went 96-93, but never made the NCAA Tournament.  His first head coaching job was at Tennessee Tech for four seasons where he went 75-43, but again never made the NCAA Tournament.  His overall head coaching record is 293-229 with zero NCAA Tournament appearances.  As a player, Lebo was a four-year starter at North Carolina.