Magazines Pick Herd High|
Oct. 10, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - With the men's college basketball season nearing its start, many of the nation's top sports magazines have released their annual prognostications and at least two have Marshall as one of Conference USA's best teams.
With no official Conference USA preseason poll for the men's squads, magazines like Athlon and Lindy's provide the only look at where the teams stack up before the season tips off.
Athlon picked the Herd second to reigning C-USA champion Memphis and in front of UCF. It lists DeAndre Kane as an all-conference first team performer. The return of Kane and senior forward Dennis Tinnon according to Athlon means "Marshall will be really good in at least two spots." It goes on to say that the Herd can match the Tigers in at least two spots and lists freshman guard Kareem Canty as a "highly regarded freshman" who should be able to create scoring opportunities for Kane and Tinnon.
Athlon mentions junior guard D.D. Scarver and junior forward Elijah Pittman, both junior college transfers who are "expected to make immediate impacts." Despite Memphis being the "most talented" team in the conference, Athlon says the Herd "should be a legitimate threat to not only push the Tigers from January to March, but also to advance in the NCAA Tournament provided they make the field.
Lindy's projects Marshall to finish third behind Memphis (first) and UCF (second). It mentions the importance of Kane taking his game to the next level by shooting a better percentage from three-point range (25 percent last season) and cutting down on turnovers. "By March, this will be a dangerous bunch, particularly if Kane jumps from good to elite," Lindy's says.
It lists a young backcourt as a potential weakness as either Canty or sophomore guard Chris Martin will emerge as the starting point guard with little game-time experience. "Canty is a tough winner who can make clutch plays and has a plenty of potential, but taking over a team in one's first year isn't easy," Lindy's says.
Despite doubting the freshman's ability to run the point, Lindy's went on to list Canty as the league's "best playmaker/passer." It lists Arsalan Kazemi as C-USA's "best rebounder," but with the senior no longer in the conference, transferring to Oregon after the magazine was published, Tinnon most likely will claim that honor as he averaged more boards than any returning player with 10.0 last season.
Another Tough Schedule: On Monday, ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan ranked the non-conference schedules of each Conference USA team on a toughness scale of 1-10. Marshall's was awarded a nine, tied with Memphis as the most difficult among conference schools.
Brennan writes: "Marshall fancies itself an NCAA tournament team this season, and for good reason. The Thundering Herd returns most of a team that advanced to the C-USA tourney final and narrowly missed out on the NCAA tournament bubble. This schedule reflects it. It is filled with real challenges, both at home, on the road, and in nearby Charleston against Cincinnati and rival West Virginia."