When it comes
to March Madness, there is always a debate among East Carolina
basketball fans about who to root for. The Pirates have only been in
two NCAA Tournaments (1972 & 1993), so ECU fans who want a rooting
interest in the tournament adopt other schools for a few weeks. But who
should Pirate fans pull for this year? Let the debate begin.
The only team from the state of North Carolina left in the Sweet 16 is
Duke. But most Pirate fans would rather eat broken glass than root for
an ACC team (that includes Boston College). Plus the Blue Devils only
have one player from the state on their roster, the popular Ross
Perkins from Greensboro. And rooting for Duke is like jumping on the
Yankees band wagon; it seems kind of tacky to pull for a winner if you
haven't done it your whole life.
So maybe it should be the converse; whoever Duke plays. LSU plays Duke
Thursday night, so maybe Pirate fans will pull for the Tigers and their
popular center Glen "Big Baby" Davis.
What about Texas? The Longhorns have a player from good old NC. P.J.
Tucker is from Raleigh, but Texas is coached by Rick Barnes, an
admitted NC State fan growing up, and a former Clemson coach, so Pirate
fans will have a tough time hooking on to the horns.
West Virgina and ECU have a history on the football field. Could the
Mountaineers get some help from the Pirate ship. You can't go wrong
rooting for a guy named Pittsnoggle. But the Mountaineers are in the
Big East, the place most ECU fans long to be, so there is a jealousy
factor involved that may prevent Pirates from latching on to them. That
means they can't root for Connecticut, Georgetown, or Villanova either.
Florida is where ECU hired football coach John Thompson away from
West Coast teams are also out (UCLA, Gonzaga, Washington). Gonzaga does
have Adam Morrison who has type one diabetes and is a great story, but
East Coasters can't root for West Coasters. It's just not in the
chemistry (see the rap wars).
Wichita State seems like a great choice for Pirate fans. They have been
over looked (a trait ECU fans claim to know well), they have a great
half court offense that features a balanced attack inside and out. And
they have a great mascot, the Shockers (it's not an electricity thing.
It actually comes from the name of the laborers who were in charge of
knocking the seeds off the wheat stalks in the Midwest in the early
1900's. Thrashing the wheat was also called shocking the wheat, and the
young men who performed this grueling process were called wheat
shockers. It was shortened to shockers in the 1940's.).
George Mason used to play in the CAA with East Carolina (plus they beat
North Carolina, which makes them an immediate favorite for ECU fans).
The Patriots seem like a logical choice, and everyone loves a good
But maybe the best choice is Memphis. The Tigers play in Conference USA
(ECU's current conference whether Pirate fans like it or not), and the
Pirates came close to upsetting Memphis in Minges Coliseum earlier this
year (a 77-67 loss January 11th). John Calipari was very complimentary
to ECU and its fans during the visit to Greenville. So wouldn't it be
best for Pirate fans to say they came close to beating a national
Personally I will be rooting for the team I have penned in as the
winner of my office pool (for entertainment purposes only). But even if
your team doesn't win, enjoy the madness, because it is a great time of
year, even if ECU isn't involved this time around.