Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
n Marshall University’s basketball season is over, right?
Not exactly. Not quite. Not yet.
Actually, the Thundering Herd has a slight pulse, thanks to — of all things — the coronavirus. Since Duke, Kansas and Virginia all had to opt out of their respective conference tournaments due to positive COVID-19 tests, the NCAA was forced to put some cautionary measures in place.
So, the NCAA Tournament designated the top four seeds in the NIT — Louisville, Colorado State, St. Louis and Ole Miss, in that order — as alternates. That means the NIT had to have four schools in place as alternates for its 16-team field.
Guess who is the third alternate?
The four alternates for the NIT, in order, are Belmont, Furman, Marshall and UAB. Actually, the Herd would be the No. 2 alternate because Louisville has announced it will play in the NCAA Tournament, but not the NIT. That would move Belmont in the NIT field.
The NCAA and NIT fields are supposed to be finalized by 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Meanwhile, MU coach Danny D’Antoni began having exit interviews with seniors on Monday morning. Although the Herd has four seniors — Jarrod West, Jannson Williams, Mikel Beyers and Darius George — an additional year of eligibility still is on the table.
But a window into that scenario could be that 6-foot-3 shooting guard Kyle Braun has verbally committed. Besides Braun, Marshall also picked up a verbal commitment from 6-9, 180-pound forward Wyatt Fricks from Winder-Barrow High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Sunday. Fricks is reportedly very athletic and skilled, but needs weight and strength.
Any way we slice it, this is going to be an interesting week for Marshall hoops.
n It’s going to be like old home week for Sean McNeil.
West Virginia University’s starting guard, who hails from Union, Kentucky, is bound to recognize a few faces when the Mountaineers take on Morehead State at 9:50 p.m. Friday in first-round play of the NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
After all, the Eagles have three starters from the Bluegrass State. Second-leading scorer DeVon Cooper, a 6-4 junior averaging 12.2 points, is from Louisville. Skyelar Potter, a 6-3 junior averaging 11.8 points, is from Bowling Green. And James Baker, 6-6 senior averaging 7.9 points, is from Brandenburg.
n How about WVU’s 6-10 Derek Culver vs. Morehead State’s 6-10 Johni Broome?
Now, there’s an interesting matchup.
Culver is a 6-10, 255-pound junior who will be going head-to-head with Broome, a 6-10, 235-pound freshman. Broome was the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year.
Culver averages 14.6 points on 49% field-goal shooting while averaging 9.8 rebounds with a total of 20 blocked shots. Broome counters with 13.9 points, 55.7% field-goal shooting, 9.0 rebounds per game and an eyebrow-raising 53 blocked shots.
Morehead State coach Preston Spradlin already is touting the matchup of big men.
“That’s going to be the marquee matchup of the night, without question,” said Spradlin, during a Zoom meeting on Monday. “That will be a big-time matchup.”
Perhaps, but I’m giving the nod to Culver.
n Thank goodness for Charles Huff.
Now that Marshall’s new head football coach is on board, fans can get excited about the start of spring football on Friday.
Goodness knows, the faithful need something to be enthused about considering the 2020 season ended with three consecutive very disappointing, lackluster losses to Rice, UAB and Buffalo.
It’s time for rejuvenation.