The Herd had 14 home games last year and has not had 17 home games since Cam Henderson was coaching the Herd (1935-55). The most home games since the Henderson Center opened in 1981 was 16 home games for Bob Zuffelato's Herd in 1982-83 and Rick Huckabay's Marshall team in 1984-85. The Herd had 14 home games last season in Ron Jirsa's final year at the helm, after three straight seasons of just 12 home games.
Marshall will begin its 101st season of men's basketball with three straight home games, which MU hasn't happened in the Henderson Center since Jones was an assistant for former Marshall head coach Dwight Freeman in 1993-94. The Herd will open with against Jones' alma mater, Pikeville College, on November 13 at the Cam Henderson Center, a first-ever meeting with the NAIA school. East Tennessee State, a 2007 National Invitational Tournament participant, will play the first of a home-and-home season series versus Marshall on November 20 in Huntington, before the Herd's returns the trip to Johnson City, Tenn., on December 4. MU beat ETSU in Huntington in 2004, 80-76, but lost the return trip to the "Mini-Dome" in 2005, 91-63.
Donnie Jones, shown here back in April when he was hired, has 17 home games for the Herd this season`. photos by Greg Perry/HI staff
The Herd's three-game homestand, one of three three-game home stands for the Herd (the first time MU has had three three-game home stands in a season since 1986-87) will conclude when the Herd faces Boston University (Nov. 25) for the first time. Six of Marshall's scheduled opponents qualified for post-season play in 2006-07, including NCAA Tournament regional finalist and Conference USA rival Memphis. The Tigers, 33-4 last season and 16-0 in league play, will visit the Henderson Center on January 12 for the Herd's C-USA home opener. It will mark the Tigers third ever appearance in Huntington and first since third-ranked Memphis dealt the Herd a 10-point loss in a sold-out game at the Henderson Center in February of 2006 that Marshall lost 91-81.
The Herd's first road game of the season will pit Marshall against Horizon League champion and NCAA participant Wright State on November 28 in Dayton, Ohio. MU defeated the Raiders 79-72 last season at the Henderson Center in the first ever meeting between the two schools. Marshall will play a pair of December home games that bookend final exam week. Up first is the 92nd all-time meeting in the "I-64 Rivalry" with nearby Morehead State. The Herd leads that series 48-43 all time. On December 14, Marshall will host Rio Grande University University from nearby Rio Grande, Ohio, for the 12th time all-time. The Herd beat the Red Men in 1999, 107-63, and MU leads the series 11-0.
The Herd, 13-19 overall in 2006-07, will face Big East power Louisville for the first time since 1979 in the Herd's final non-conference road tilt on December 18. After the game at Louisville, the Herd returns to the Henderson Center for a season-high, four-game homestand versus the Ivy League's Princeton Tigers (Dec. 22), Lipscomb of the Atlantic Sun Conference(Dec. 29), the West Coast Conference's University of San Diego Toreros in a New Year's Eve tilt (Dec. 31) and finish with Winthrop on January 5. The three-time defending Big South champions, the Winthrop Eagles, will serve as Marshall's first opponent of 2008 in the Herd's last non-conference game prior to C-USA action getting underway. Both Louisville and Winthrop advanced to the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
"We are playing teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament, teams that have been where we ultimately want to be," Jones said. The matchups with Lipscomb and San Diego will mark the first time in team history MU has faced each school. Marshall will take on NIT champion and intra-state rival West Virginia in the annual Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic in Charleston, W.Va., on January 23, with the women's teams tipping at 5:30 p.m. and the men's teams at 8 p.m. MU and WVU have split the last six meetings in this series, with the average margin of victory at 5.7 points in that span.
Marshall's C-USA opener will come in Houston, Texas, versus the Rice Owls on January 9. The Herd's seven other league road games include contests at travel partners East Carolina (Jan. 16), UAB (Feb. 2) and UCF (Feb. 6), along with another trip to Houston (Jan. 26) to play the Cougars, going to Dallas for SMU (Feb. 13), Tulsa (March 1) and to New Orleans to meet Tulane (March 5). "We start off the Conference USA schedule on the road (at Rice), then come home to play probable pre-season favorite Memphis, so we're definitely playing a league schedule that starts off strong," Jones said. "With West Virginia in the middle of the C-USA schedule it will make for a very demanding start to 2008."
Following the conference home opener versus Memphis, the Herd will welcome the Blazers of UAB (Jan. 19), the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa (Jan. 30) and start the February home stand with the Pirates of East Carolina (Feb. 9), led by long-time Herd nemesis Mack McCarthy as the head coach. McCarthy led Chattanooga to a Southern Conference championship in the Herd and Mocs final SC meeting in the SC Tournament in 1997 in Greensboro, N.C. He has a lifetime mark of 309-177, took the Mocs to five NCAA appearances and had eight 20-win seasons in 12 years at UTC and as the head coach of VCU.
Markel Humphrey dunked on Tulane's David Gomez in last year's game in Huntington. Humphrey was Marshall's leading scorer last year and returns for his junior season in 2006-07. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Rounding out the home schedule from C-USA is the Green Wave of Tulane (Feb. 16), the Miners of UTEP (Feb. 20), the Knights of UCF (Feb. 23) and the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss (March 8), the final game of the year for the Herd at the Henderson Center before moving on to the C-USA Tournament in Memphis, Tennessee on March 12-15 at the FedEx Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies as well as the Tigers.
Marshall's exhibition schedule consists of a pair of home games versus West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference members. First up are the Falcons of Fairmont State University on November 1. The Hilltoppers of West Liberty are up five days later on November 6. Starting times are yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.
MARSHALL MEN'S BASKETBALL
Nov. 1 FAIRMONT STATE (Exhibition
Nov. 6 WEST LIBERTY (Exhibition)
Nov. 13 PIKEVILLE
Nov. 20 EAST TENNESSEE STATE
Nov. 25 BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Nov. 28 at Wright State
Dec. 1 MOREHEAD STATE
Dec. 4 at East Tennessee State
Dec. 14 RIO GRANDE
Dec. 18 at Louisville
Dec. 22 PRINCETON
Dec. 29 LIPSCOMB
Dec. 31 SAN DIEGO
Jan. 5 WINTHROP
Jan. 9 at Rice*
Jan. 12 MEMPHIS*
Jan. 16 at East Carolina*
Jan. 19 UAB*
Jan. 23 vs. West Virginia-Cheaspeake Energy Capital City Classic, Charleston, W.Va.
Jan. 26 at Houston*
Jan. 30 TULSA*
Feb. 2 at UAB*
Feb. 6 at UCF*
Feb. 9 EAST CAROLINA*
Feb. 13 at SMU*
Feb. 16 TULANE*
Feb. 20 UTEP*
Feb. 23 UCF*
March 1 at Tulsa*
March 5 at Tulane*
March 8 SOUTHERN MISS*
March 12-15 Conference USA Championship (Memphis, Tenn.)
HOME GAMES IN CAPS
*Conference USA Games