Michel Nzege (© Amber Searls/USA Today)

At the 10-game mark, what can we expect from the Pirates moving forward?

As the Holiday season arrives and teams start to prepare for the grind of conference play, East Carolina finds themselves at 7-3 and looking to stay competitive.

Jeff Lebo and company have been taking care of business this season thus far. However, last week's 23-point loss to Virginia definitely showed there are some kinks that need to be worked out for this team to take it to the next level

The Cavaliers, who are currently No. 13 in the country in the newest AP poll, are one of the tougher teams East Carolina Pirates will play this year. With that in mind, ECU still has a viable chance to be competitive in the second half of the season and finish with a strong record. 

However, the loss like that comes as no surprise as ECU has not beat a ranked opponent since 2002. Bearing that in mind, ECU's next top-25 affair is over a month away when they play the Cincinnati Bearcats, who currently sit at No. 25 in the newest AP poll.. 

Though Cincinnati is the only current top 25 team the Pirates will play, ECU will certainly be tested by other good teams.

ECU's toughest stretch of the year comes in the beginning of January when they play Temple, Houston, Cincinnati, and UCONN consecutively The Temple and UCONN games are both on the road, which will make it even tougher.

It is not unrealistic come into that stretch with a strong 11-5 record. As long as the Pirates can manage limit their turnovers and continue to work hard on offensive glass, ECU is poised to stay competitive.

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