The nightcap for the first round of the Conference USA tournament features the 12th-seeded East Carolina Pirates, in their final C-USA tournament, going up against the 13th-seeded UTSA Roadrunners in their first tournament as members of Conference USA. The game will tip off at 10:30pm ET at Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
Regular season matchup(s): February 8th- UTSA 71 @ ECU 81
East Carolina at a glance
After losing the first six contests of their conference season, the Pirates finished their league slate with a 5-11 record in conference and a 16-15 record overall. East Carolina is currently on a two-game losing streak with their last victory coming on Senior Night over the Charlotte 49ers on February 27th.
UTSA at a glance
The Roadrunners started off their conference season with victories over Marshall and Charlotte at home, but lost 12 of their last 14 league contests to finish with a 4-12 record in Conference USA and an overall record of 8-21.
Players to watch for
ECU- Akeem Richmond (17.9ppg, All-Conference USA Second Team) and Paris Roberts-Campbell (11.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.0apg)
UTSA- Keon Lewis (12.7ppg) and Jordan Sims (10.4ppg, 36.9% from 3)
The Pirates win if
Akeem Richmond is at the top of his game and they can keep their big men out of foul trouble. If Richmond is making his three-point shot early, it could be a long night for the Roadrunners.
The Roadrunners win if
They guard the three-point line and also get East Carolina into foul trouble. The Pirates offense is built around the three-point shot and if the Roadrunners can limit the opportunities from the outside, they improve their chances of victory substantially. East Carolina’s bench is not very deep so look for UTSA to try and draw fouls, especially against the frontcourt players of the Pirates.
Winner takes on: Fifth-seeded, and tournament host, UTEP. East Carolina (0-1) and UTSA (0-2) lost all of their regular season matchups against the Miners.