Marshall plays host tonight to the Rice Owls at the Cam Henderson Center at 7pm. This is an important match up for both teams in regards to seeding. Rice still has an outside shot at reaching the number 4 slot and receiving a bye, and unless I am missing some crazy tie breaker scenario, Marshall is fighting for the fifth or sixth seed.
Rice currently sets in the 5th position, having already won 20 games (20-9), they are 10 – 6 in CUSA play. They need to win out, and have either Rice or ODU to lose out in order to climb into the bye slot. Marshall hopes to put that to rest tonight with a win.
Marshall, with a win tonight and Saturday over North Texas will, barring some unforeseen circumstance, finish in the 5th slot. The 5th slot would see the Herd playing, most likely, Southern Miss. Southern Miss would be tied with FAU, but FAU would gain the tiebreaker based on head to head and move to 11. Marshall lost to Southern Miss on the road 91 – 76. Marshall would then roll into a game with the four seed. That should be decided when Old Dominion plays at UTEP tonight. The loser will slide to the four slot.
If fans want exciting basketball, this should be one of those games. Marshall and Rice enter the game as the top two scoring teams in Conference USA for the season. Marshall is averaging 85.7 points per game (while giving up 84.4), and Rice is averaging 81.6 points per game (while giving up 74.5.)
Both teams love to shoot the three pointer. Marshall leads the conference in three point field goals made per game at 10.1, while Rice is second at 9.3. Rice shoots a slightly higher percentage, 38.8 to 37.2. Both of those percentages rank first and second in the conference as well.
The teams also have two of the front runners for CUSA player of the year as well. Marcus Evans is first in the conference in scoring at 20.7 points per game. Marshall’s Jon Elmore is 3rd at 19.5 points per game. Evans also is 13th in assists at 3.2 per game, and Elmore is second at 5.4 per game.
In addition to Evans and Elmore, the two teams also have two other players who should earn high honors in regards to All Conference Teams. Rice’s Egor Koulechov is 4th in the conference in scoring at 19.1 points per game, and 2nd in rebounding at 9.6 per game. Marshall’s Ryan Taylor is 13th in scoring at 15.1, and first in rebounding at 9.6 (edge over Koulechov based on total number of rebounds.)
In conclusion, get to the Cam tonight if you want to watch some exciting basketball between two good basketball teams who like to put points on the board.
Marshall is currently a 3 point favorite, with an over under of anywhere between 177 and 182 points.
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