Marshall (1-0) at Villanova (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 11, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pavilion (6,500) -- Villanova, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Marshall 1-0, Villanova 1-0. Away Record: Marshall 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Neutral Record: Marshall 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Conference Record: Marshall 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Series Record: Series tied 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams that came away with wins in their season-openers will fight it out at The Pavilion this afternoon as the Marshall Thunder Herd collide with the Villanova Wildcats as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
Marshall had no trouble against Longwood, its first opponent of the season, posting an 81-47 victory. It was a strong start for Marshall and third-year coach Tom Herrion. The Herd have won 20 or more games in three straight seasons coming into this year which is only the fourth time in school history that has happened.
Villanova brushed off the disappointment of last season with a 78-58 win over the District of Columbia on Friday. The win was a welcome sight for a team that finished just 13-19 overall last season. That was a particularly disappointing finish for a program that had made seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances and had not won fewer than 15 games since 1998. A big reason for that was the team's lack of consistent guard play. Normally known for strong point guard play the Wildcats finished 14th in the conference with 12.3 assists per game.
This is the first regular season meeting between these squads but the third overall. The first two contests were split with Villanova winning the most recent one with an 84-72 victory in 1984.
Marshall dominated on both ends of the court in its win over Longwood. The Herd limited Longwood to just 29.8 percent shooting in the game, while connecting at a 50.9 percent clip. The Herd also beat up Longwood on the boards, with a 49-27 edge in rebounds.
A preseason All-Conference USA selection, DeAndre Kane lived up to the hype against Longwood as he tied for a team-high with 18 points, while also handing out eight assists and blocking three shots. Kane (16.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.5 apg) made it a habit of filling up the stat sheet last season and looks to be picking up right where he left off, after he scored in double figures in each of the Herd's final 10 games, including a 40-point eruption against Tulane. Junior college transfer D.D. Scarver gave a glimpse of what could be a very potent backcourt duo on Friday as he also managed to score 18 points, including a 3-for-4 effort from beyond the arc.Dennis Tinnon did not look like the double-double machine he was a season ago, scoring only four points and bringing in five rebounds. Tinnon (10.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg) only played 24 minutes, but needs to shake off the offseason rust quickly. That is especially true since Marshall relied so heavily on controlling the boards last year, finishing eighth nationally (39.7 rpg).
A slow start had Villanova leading by just five (33-28) against District of Columbia but the Wildcats turned it on in the second half to coast to the win. Villanova shot just 39.3 percent from the floor in the first half but heated up to 51.6 percent in the second period. Senior Maurice Sutton led the charge with 12 points in the win.
Losing top scorer Maalik Wayns (17.6 ppg, 4.6 apg) along with Dominic Cheek (12.5 ppg) may end up being a blessing in disguise for Villanova. Although Wayns' numbers were strong he never seemed to be the type of point guard that head coach Jay Wright had been accustomed to. Based on the evidence from Villanova's win over District of Columbia that position is still a work in progress, with Ryan Arcidiacono (11 points, 4 assists ) and Tony Chennault (five assists) finishing as the top distributors. Like Marshall, Villanova was a very good rebounding team last season ranking 16th nationally (39.1 pg). Center Mouphtaou Yarou (11.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) led that charge and was a consistent double-double threat. Yarou had only nine points and five rebounds in the opener, while JayVaughn Pinkston (9.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) was the superior player in the post with 10 points and eight boards. Still not too much can be taken from the opener as only one player (Arcidiacono) played more than 26 minutes.
This game features two teams that will attack the boards with aggression. Where the difference will come is in guard play which on paper favors the Herd. Still Wright will have his team ready to go and with the home crowd behind them the Wildcats should be able to pull out a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Villanova 67 Marshall 64
11/11 10:34:17 ET