Marshall will play its biggest non-conference game of the year tonight.
Yes, they have a date with No. 11 Cincinnati and will travel to Kentucky on Dec. 22, but tonight it’s a different beast.
The Thundering Herd travel to Charleston to take on rival West Virginia in the annual Capital Classic.
West Virginia is only 2-3, while Marshall sits at 5-3.
Marshall’s losses, though, have come against a struggling Villanova team, a decent San Diego State team and Hofstra. All three will probably see the NIT at best this year.
The Thundering Herd have beaten Nevada, Morehead State and UNC Wilmington, all quality opponents, but nothing special.
West Virginia has lost to Oklahoma, Davidson and Gonzaga, all really good teams with a shot to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers are expected to make the NCAA Tournament, while Marshall is a dark horse in need of signature wins.
Tonight’s Capital Classic is a signature win waiting to happen for the Herd. But, unfortunately for them, it falls on the shoulders of guard DeAndre Kane.
The junior has been a scoring threat his first two years at Marshall, but this season he has been put in the position of starting point guard.
He has averaged 16 points per game along with 8.3 assists per game. But his shot has struggled.
Kane has shot 35 percent from the field and 47 percent from the free-throw line, including three airballs in the past two games.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins will have his team ready to take advantage of the impromptu point guard.
The Mountaineers will also look to get the ball to transfers
Juwan Dayton (Dayton, 10.8 ppg) and Aaric Murray (La Salle, 10.3 ppg).
Look for this to be a physical game, with both teams looking for a signature win to hang their hat on this season.
Sean Woods’ first season at Morehead State has gotten attention, but for a few wrong reasons.
Getting in a player’s face during the Eagles’ in-state game against Kentucky has given Woods’ national attention, and it’s not been good.
People seem to forget though that the Eagles led a majority of the game against the Wildcats.
I was in person to see Morehead State’s game against Marshall on Nov. 28, and the Eagles gave the Herd all they could handle.
The Eagles don’t quit, and they play hard-nosed, in-your-face man-to-man defense. Marshall was lucky to pick up a 70-67 win.
The problem with Morehead State comes from the offense, or lack thereof. After Milton Chavis — averaging 15.8 points per game — no other player averages more than eight points per game.
As a team, Morehead State is averaging 72 points per game which is good for 70th in the country. Playing against teams like Kentucky, Marshall and Maryland, this just won’t do.
Tonight the Eagles will play against a decent North Dakota State team, who could be the at-large NCAA Tournament representative from the Summit League.
Woods will get the job done at Morehead — he has the pedigree and the passion for the job. Let’s just hope his passion shines through in a positive way from now on.
Rowan County’s D.J. Townsend continues to excel on the basketball court.
The freshman guard has played in all 11 games at Georgetown College, and has even started in nine of the 11 games.
He is averaging almost 19 minutes per game while averaging almost four points per game.
The Tigers have started the season 8-3, which includes going a perfect 7-0 in non-conference play this season.
Former Ashland standout Katelyn Connor is getting her time at Coastal Carolina.
Connor has started in six of the Chanticleers’ seven games as Coastal Carolina has started the season 5-2.
The junior is averaging 8.2 points per game along with 6.8 rebounds per game.
In the team’s Big South opener on Saturday against Gardner Webb, Connor posted her first collegiate double-double, picking up 14 points and 11 rebounds.
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.