Marshall's DeAndre Kane shoots during an NIT game last season.
HUNTINGTON - The weather has conspired to give Marshall's basketball team its first short turnaround of the season, before that season even begins.The Thundering Herd takes the floor tonight at 8, facing Bluefield (Va.) College in an exhibition postponed from Monday. With the Hurricane Sandy-related snowstorm dumping up to 2 feet of snow along Interstate 77 north, travel was prohibitive.The rescheduled game forms a women's-men's doubleheader, with the Herd women playing Concord in an exhibition at 5:30.So now, the Herd men will finally play somebody in another uniform. And less than 48 hours later, it will do so in a closed scrimmage Saturday with Winthrop at Beckley.It will be time for coach Tom Herrion to iron-out his first rotations when the Herd's season starts for real Nov. 9 against Longwood."We'll make it work," he said. "It will be a lot of opportunity in a short period of time for our staff to have film and evaluation of playing against different types of players, on two different teams in a 48-hour period."Herrion said he really isn't close to filling out his rotation, and he generally downplays the importance of a starting five. He believes he has enough depth for a solid nine-or 10-man rotation.Just a few issues to watch tonight:
Will Chris Martin and/or Kareem Canty adequately fill the void of the departed Damier Pitts at point guard, or will DeAndre Kane slide over to that position for substantial minutes? And can the Herd avoid a rash of turnovers in the early season?How effective will a healthy Nigel Spikes be underneath?Will shooting improve on several fronts, from Kane's 3-pointers to Robert Goff's free throws?Can halfcourt defense be more consistent?How much of an impact will junior-college transfers Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver be?
"Offensively, they're really talented for their positions," Herrion said. "Defensively, they're playing catch-up to a certain extent, to our system and our accountability."On the injury front, DeVince Boykins is still a few weeks away after a significantly sprained knee. Herrion said players who develop any borderline injuries would sit tonight.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.