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HERRION .... we have a problem

Column

Sports Editor

Published: Friday, January 25, 2013

Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 13:01

As my fellow editors and I were working on Thursday’s edition of the Parthenon, I looked at the time and realized that the Marshall men’s basketball team had tipped off against Southern Miss just a few minutes earlier. To my horror, Gametracker showed the Herd trailing 36-4 with ten minutes left in the first half. “No way,” I thought, refreshing the page several times before accepting that there was no glitch or loading error. My beloved Thundering Herd was getting absolutely romped on by the Golden Eagles.

    The only bright spot in the performance was that the majority of the Herd faithful was not in Hattiesburg to see the atrocity. For the majority of the first half, the Thundering Herd had more fouls than points and ended the game with a mind-blowing 31 turnovers. After the game, Head Coach Tom Herrion said that it was “as disappointing and unacceptable of a performance by my team since I’ve been a head coach.”

It was that bad.

    It’s hard to believe that the team that got demolished at USM was the same team that I had witnessed defeat the ECU Pirates by 21 points in a game that wasn’t even that close. It was the same team that defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the Cam Henderson Center in similar fashion the week before that.

It is hard to describe this season as anything but a disappointment. After finishing with a 21-14 record last season, a C-USA championship appearance and the schools first NIT appearance since 1988, many Marshall fans thought that this season would be NCAA or bust. Instead fans have seen a wildly inconsistent team that just can’t seem to get it together.

To be fair, the Herd has been excellent inside the friendly confines of the Henderson Center. This season, the Herd is 8-1 at home, having won those games by an average of 13.5 points. The lone loss came against Delaware State by just two points. Outside of the Cam, however, the Herd is an abysmal 1-8. In those losses, the Herd has lost by a jaw-dropping average of 21.5 points.

It wouldn’t be as bad if Marshall had a bad squad, but it doesn’t. Marshall’s roster oozes with athleticism and height. Junior DeAndre Kane was a pre-season All-C-USA selection and Senior Dennis Tinnon is one of the top rebounders in the NCAA. Coach Herrion continued his habit of luring skilled junior college transfers to the program this season in D.D. Scarver and Elijah Pittman, both of which made an immediate impact on the team. This team was supposed to finally challenge the mighty Memphis Tigers for control of C-USA men’s basketball, and now it looks like it will take a minor miracle to even finish in the top half of the conference.

So, the question is what will happen for the rest of the season. Coach Herrion doesn’t have much time to right the ship. The team travels to the FedEx Forum Saturday to take on the aforementioned Memphis Tigers. But unless C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky can be convinced to allow the Herd to play the rest of its games at home, something must be done—and soon—to salvage something from this season.

Will Vance can be contacted at vance162@marshall.edu.
 

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