Point blank, the Pirates are not a team the Pack can take lightly. They are 8-1 so far this year and are a scoring machine thus far. As you can see from the numbers here from Ken Pomeroy's site, the Pirates are one of the most efficient teams on offense, rating in the top 20 nationally in both raw and adjusted efficiency. They have a very high effective FG%, take very good care of the basketball and get to the line reasonably well.
2009 scouting report for East Carolina
Offense DefenseIf there's an area of weakness, that bright red item staring back at you is their turnover percentage on defense. They're not doing a good job of creating turnovers--good news for the Pack considering how poorly they held on to the ball against Winston-Salem State. They're also allowing teams to operate at a high efficiency and give up a sizable percentage of offensive rebounds.
Raw Efficiency : 120.2 ( 2) 101.0 (190)
Adj Efficiency : 117.7 ( 16) 108.0 (281)
Effective FG% : 56.2 ( 16) 45.1 ( 66)
Turnover Pct. : 14.6 ( 4) 16.5 (328)
Off. Rebound% : 33.3 (175) 36.1 (247)
Free Throw Rate: 27.8 ( 91) 30.5 ( 66)
3-Point FG% : 38.8 ( 49) 29.8 ( 56)
2-Point FG% : 54.7 ( 24) 45.3 (103)
Free Throw Pct.: 69.7 (130) 68.6 (184)
Block Pct. : 8.4 (156) 7.8 (194)
Steal Pct. : 6.6 ( 6) 9.0 (228)
3PA/FGA : 44.1 ( 22) 33.9 (202)
A/FGM : 64.2 ( 27) 58.7 (254)
The key will likely come down to defensive play from the Pack. It has to start on the perimeter, as the Pirates love to hoist up threes (44.1% of their shot attempts)--primarily from the duo of Sam Hinnet and James Legan. Force them to work the ball inside where State's forwards should be able to hold the Pirate interior tandem of Darius Morrow and Chad Wynn in check.
This game means a lot to both squads, obviously. For State it's an opportunity to redeem themselves from last year's road loss to the Pirates and further put last year's season behind them. For the Pirates, it's an opportunity to prove that they're for real and a team to be reckoned with this season. This will be one of the biggest pre-ACC games to this point, and the best gauge of where State is heading down the backstretch of the out of conference slate.