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Regional foes enjoyable to play

On November 17, 2013

For as painful as it was to watch the Herd’s sizeable lead shrink and eventually invert into a 102-94 overtime loss to Morehead State, it was good to see the Eagles again. It’s hard to find a mid-major whose fans travel quite as well as Marshall’s do, but one of the main grumbles heard when Marshall fled the MAC for greener Conference USA pastures was the geographic disadvantages of away games. With the closest conference team being East Carolina in Greensboro roughly over five hours away, giving up on sensible Ohio road trips to Akron, Toledo and Oxford was the price that needed paying for more shots at national athletic acclaim.

But the Herd’s schedule isn’t always going to be boxed in by conference play, especially now with roughly 30 basketball games needing to be played each year.

So when we’re out picking foes from the world outside C-USA, it’s enjoyable to keep things regional. Exhibit A: Ohio University. It only makes sense that two equally matched programs 80 miles apart with a history dating back to 1905 and a traveling trophy see each other with any degree of regularity. With the Battle for the Bell renewed until 2016 and popular opinion high despite the series has not recently being kind to Marshall, it’s a fine example of not forgetting old faces despite the trend of conference-centric movements around the nation.

It’s not just the obvious in Ohio. It’s traveling across the mountains to see Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. It WAS going up to Morgantown for the now-defunct Friends of Coal. It’s going over to Morehead State on Sunday.

It’s nice to have traveling to away games as a viable option for the average fan. It’s nice to casually run into fans of our opponents in our daily lives. There’s plenty of worthy teams within a 100-mile radius of campus, and exploring those options in scheduling would make travel easier and rivalries stronger.

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