The Basketball season hasn't exactly gone to form so far. UC has already failed one test, and it was the like the practice test where the teacher lets you take it home. They got back on the right track against Northwestern State but the real first test was supposed to be today against Marshall.
The Herd and the Bearcats have three common opponents on the year, four if you count Northern Kentucky in the exhibition schedule. Marshall and Cincinnati are taking part in the Global Sports Challenge which is neither global in scale or a challenge for either of the big fish in the pond. Instead it involves shipping three low, low, low majors up to Ohio and West Virginia for two game road trips. Here are the results for all three opponents for Marshall and Cincinnati
As I said the Global Sports Challenge is neither global nor challenging for the two headlining acts who have won their 6 contests in the series by an average of 20.17 points per game.
Marshall got their stiffest test of the season to date when they traveled to lovely Willmington North Carolina to face the UNC Wilmington Seahawks in their fortress at Trask Coliseum. The game was a tight taught affair in which Marshall started very slowly.
UNCW had 8-0 and 12-3 leads in the opening five minutes.
"With young people you tell them there's a tree in the road and they don't believe it until they hit it," Herrion said."I knew how hungry they (Seahawks) were and how hard they would play."
Marshall was traveling with 7 players going on their first road trip. So the slow start is at least understandable. Marshall did rally and recover for a 69-64 win. A big part of the win was adjusting to their bigs foul trouble
Marshall's big men got in foul trouble, forcing Herrion to use a four-guard alignment with Kane situated in the high post.
Damier Pitts said having four guards on the court helps the running game, but causes some problems with rebounding. The Herd won the rebound contest by only a 33-31 margin.
Marshall and UC are pretty similar teams in their approach to the game. Good defensive teams that place a premium on rebounding. The offensive paces are similarly slow, neither team is particularly good shooting squads, both have a true shooting number hovering around 50. The similar styles should make for a tight contest, if not a visually appealing one.
The top two offensive players for the Herd, and the guys that will get the lions share of possessions run through them are Pitts and DeAndre Kane. Pitts runs the offense but of the two I think Kane is the better player, and the bigger threat to UC. He scores at a higher clip (16.5 to 13) and does it more efficiently (shooting 53.5% to 38.6%). Pitts is good, but Kane is the threat. The last interesting thing about the Herd is that for them rebounding is a group effort. 5 players average 5 boards or more per game, and three of them are guards. Dennis Tinnon leads the way with 7.5 rebounds per game.