HUNTINGTON – Marshall will face 12 teams that qualified for postseason play last spring, including eight that participated in the NCAA Tournament, as the men’s basketball 2012-13 schedule was released Tuesday.
The Thundering Herd will play four teams from conferences with a top four RPI with road games at Villanova (Nov. 11) and at Kentucky (Dec. 22) as well as games against West Virginia (Dec. 5) and Cincinnati (Dec. 15) at the Charleston Civic Center.
“We are excited to announce our entire schedule for the upcoming 2012-13 season,” said head coach Tom Herrion, whose team finished the regular season with a strength of schedule of 43.
“As we have proven since I have been here, we value playing high quality opponents and this year is another example of that. I am sure that most people will quickly recognize the four opponents from the BCS conferences, but we have worked hard to schedule high quality programs throughout our non-conference schedule.
“Many of our opponents competed for their respective conference titles and played in postseason play.”
Marshall will host one exhibition game, believed to be the earliest opener in Marshall history, Oct. 29 against the Bluefield College (Virginia) Rams, a NAIA program joining the Mid-South Conference (Pikeville, Georgetown College, Shawnee State and Rio Grande, for example) this season.
Bluefield (not to be confused with Bluefield State in W.Va., a member of the WVIAC and NCAA D-II) was 19-16 last season in the National Christian College Athletic Assoc.
The Herd opens the regular season at home against Longwood (now a member of the Big South) on Nov. 9, and the Lancers were 10-21 last season as an independent.
Then Marshall will be heading to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on Villanova at the 6,500-seat on-campus arena, The Pavilion, as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project.
The Herd and the Wildcats have only met twice, in the 1967 NIT (a 70-68 Herd win at Madison Square Garden, where Bob Allen had a double-double with 21 rebounds and 11 points) and in the 1984 NCAA Tournament (an 84-72 ‘Nova win in a Mideast Regional at MECCA Arena in Milwaukee, Wis., with MU led by LaVerne Evans with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting), falling to a team that came back the next year to win the 1985 NCAA National Championship for Coach Rollie Massimino.
Marshall then travels to Long Island, N.Y. for three consecutive games, all part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project.
The Herd will first play University of District of Columbia (Nov. 16), an NCAA Division II school from the nation’s capital which qualified for its NCAA Tournament last season with a 22-6 record.
UDC is better known as the school that West Virginia school-boy legend Earl Jones of Mount Hope - a second ever Parade High School All-American after being AA All-state as both a freshman (first in state history) and sophomore - played for back in the early 1980s.
Next up will be a first-time meeting with South Dakota State (Nov. 17) which went 27-8 last season and won the Summit League to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
On Nov. 18, Marshall faces the host school, Hofstra, of the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Pride’s roster includes transfers from Penn State, Rhode Island, Hawai’i, Fresno State and UConn.
The Herd will then play its next 10 games either at home or no more than a two hour drive from Huntington which begins with hosting last season’s Western Athletic Conference champions from Reno, Nev.
The Nevada Wolfpack, now in the Mountain West Conference, visits Huntington on Nov. 24, and the Herd is 1-2 against Nevada all-time.
On Nov. 28, Morehead State of the Ohio Valley Conference visits the Cam Henderson Center for the first time since 2007 as the I-64 series will resume for at least the next four years.
It the 94th meeting all-time (Marshall leads 49-44) for the two rivals just 60 minutes apart by Interstate 64 in West Virginia and Kentucky, and both schools were also coached by Kentucky's Adolph Rupp's first All-American, Ellis Johnson, and the MSU gym is named in his honor.
UNC Wilmington, MU’s second opponent from the CAA, makes a return trip to Huntington on Dec. 1 after hosting the Herd last season, resulting in a 69-64 MU win.
On Dec. 5, Marshall takes on in-state rival West Virginia in the annual Capital Classic in Charleston, the game moving from its traditional January date due to West Virginia's first year in the Big XII Conference.
Coppin State of the MEAC will face the Herd for the first time on Dec. 8 in Huntington.
Marshall will play a second Big East team when the Herd meets Cincinnati on Dec. 15, also in Charleston at the Civic Center, the first of six straight games against teams with a winning record last season.
The Bearcats advanced to the Sweet 16 last season and had a 26-11 record, one of those losses coming to Marshall (73-69 OT) in Cincinnati last year.
“Our great Thundering Herd fan base will once again help to create atmospheres in the Henderson Center and in Charleston that will allow for even more memorable moments for our great basketball tradition,” said Herrion who enters his third season at Marshall.
Savannah State, which went 21-16 and lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament last season, comes to town on Dec. 19.
On Dec. 22, Marshall plays defending national champion Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. live from historic Rupp Arena.
Coach John Calipari formerly coached the Memphis Tigers against the Herd in C-USA before taking the Wildcats job two years ago and has regularly recruited the top classes in the nation to play at UK.
After a ten day Christmas break, the Herd will play its first game of 2013 on Jan. 2 against Delaware State in Huntington. It will be the second-ever meeting against the Hornets.
To wrap up non-conference play, Ohio and Marshall will meet for the sixth consecutive season on Jan. 5 in Athens, Ohio, meeting OU for the 99th time in the series (Ohio leads 52-46) between two rivals just 90 minutes apart.
The Bobcats won the Mid-American Conference regular season title last season and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
“Our non-conference schedule will allow us to prepare for C-USA play,” Herrion said. “We will face many different styles of play at home, on the road and in neutral type settings.
“This schedule is a result of a collective effort, particularly Mark Cline from my staff and thankfully our administration shares a similar philosophy and we appreciate the cooperation and support from Mike Hamrick (Director of Athletics) and Jeff O’Malley (Associate AD/Chief of Staff).”
The 16-game Conference USA slate begins with Tulsa at home on Jan. 9 and continues with this following games: at UTEP (Jan. 12), then a week off before meeting East Carolina (Jan. 19).
The Herd is looking at a five day road swing on a trip going to Southern Miss (Jan. 23) in Hattiesburg, Miss. and then continue the "Bar-B-Que Tour" to the FedEx Forum on Beale Street in Memphis (Jan. 26), Tenn.
Marshall returns home for a team still looking for its first win against the Herd in SMU (Jan. 30), then hosts Donnie Jones and UCF (Feb. 2), two teams in their final year in C-USA, as "D.J." comes back to his native area for what might be the last time at the Henderson Center.
Then the Herd has another extensive road swing to New Orleans for a game at Tulane (Feb. 6), then a bus ride to Birmingham, Ala. to meet the Blazers at UAB (Feb. 6).
Next up in the Henderson Center are the Rice Owls (Feb. 13), followed by the Memphis Tigers (Feb. 16) for the final time in C-USA play before the Herd heads down to UCF (Feb. 20) for what might be the last game with the Knights.
Then Marshall is back home for UAB (Feb. 23), at Houston (March 2), another team leaving C-USA for the Big East, and the final week features the home finale with Southern Miss (March 6) and a final game of the regular season at East Carolina (March 9).
The C-USA Championships will take place in Tulsa, Okla. at the BOK Center March 13-16. It will be the final tournament involving Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF, who will leave for the Big East Conference next season.
Replacing those teams in C-USA 2013-14 will be Charlotte, FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Old Dominion and UT-San Antonio, and that tournament is scheduled to return to El Paso with UTEP as host in March of 2014.
HERD THUNDER: 15 opponents had winning records last season … Kentucky, Memphis, Nevada and Savannah State all won their regular season conference title … Nevada, Savannah Sate and UCF qualified for the NIT … Rice reached the quarterfinals of the CIT… From Nov. 24 to Dec. 19, the Herd will not leave the state of West Virginia (seven games, with five in Huntington and two in Charleston) … It would have been the first time that Marshall has scheduled an all NCAA Division I schedule since 2006-07, but the D-II District of Columbia game was added by the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project … The last time Marshall played four teams from power conferences was 1994-95 (current Florida coach Billy Donovan’s first season as a head coach, playing Kansas State, at Kentucky, at Wake Forest and WVU by Donovan's 18-10 Herd) … It will be the fourth-straight year that Marshall will play at least one game in the state of New York … Marshall has never lost to Longwood (2-0), District of Columbia (3-0), Savannah State (2-0) or Delaware State (1-0) … Akron was to be on the Herd's schedule, but a mutual decision by both staffs moved the first game, with Marshall heading up to northeastern Ohio, will take place in 2013-14 between former MAC rivals, the Zips and the Herd.
Date Opponent Location Time TV
Oct. 29 Bluefield College, Va. (Exhibition) Huntington, W.Va.
Nov. 9 Longwood Huntington, W.Va.
Nov. 11 at Villanova $ Philadelphia, Pa.
Nov. 16 vs. University of District of Columbia $ Long Island, N.Y.
Nov. 17 vs. South Dakota State $ Long Island, N.Y.
Nov. 18 at Hofstra $ Long Island, N.Y.
Nov. 24 Nevada Huntington, W.Va.
Nov. 28 Morehead State Huntington, W.Va.
Dec. 1 UNC Wilmington Huntington, W.Va.
Dec. 5 vs. West Virginia # Charleston, W.Va. TV - Statewide Network
Dec. 8 Coppin State Huntington, W.Va.
Dec. 15 vs. Cincinnati # Charleston, W.Va.
Dec. 19 Savannah State Huntington, W.Va.
Dec. 22 at Kentucky Lexington, Ky. 4 p.m. (Eastern) TV - ESPN2
Jan. 2 Delaware State Huntington, W.Va.
Jan. 5 at Ohio Athens, Ohio
Jan. 9 Tulsa* Huntington, W.Va.
Jan. 12 at UTEP* El Paso, Texas
Jan. 19 East Carolina* Huntington, W.Va.
Jan. 23 at Southern Miss* Hattiesburg, Miss.
Jan. 26 at Memphis* Memphis, Tenn.
Jan. 30 SMU* Huntington, W.Va.
Feb. 2 UCF* Huntington, W.Va.
Feb. 6 at Tulane* New Orleans, La.
Feb. 9 at UAB* Birmingham, Ala.
Feb. 13 Rice* Huntington, W.Va.
Feb. 16 Memphis* Huntington, W.Va.
Feb. 20 at UCF* Orlando, Fla.
Feb. 23 UAB* Huntington, W.Va.
March 2 at Houston* Houston, Texas
March 6 Southern Miss* Huntington, W.Va.
March 9 at East Carolina* Greenville, N.C.
March 13-16 C-USA Championships BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla.
HOME GAMES BOLD
* Conference USA game
$ 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project (Nov. 16-18 are hosted by Hofstra)
# at Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, W.Va.