Herd thunders past West Virginia again
A look at the direction of Marshall basketball
"What the heck?" That's what I was thinking as the Thundering Herd basketball team played on Wednesday night. "What the heck is going on? And why can't we play like this every night?" As the Herd was on its way to a 58-52 victory over #13 West Virginia, the second consecutive year that Marshall defeated the highly-favored Mountaineers, I could not help but wonder why the Marshall men's basketball team couldn't play like this more often.
The fans have been calling for Ron Jirsa's head all season. It doesn't matter which Marshall message board you frequent, the theme is the same. Fire Ron Jirsa! Hire Bob Huggins and bring Marshall basketball to the top! In fact, I have even seen a www.HireBobHuggins.com site promoted in the signature of a few on the Marshall fan boards. And how could anyone disagree? After a 6-22 season last year with a final RPI ranking of #235 it was clear that the basketball program is not where the fans want it to be. This season has not been any better as the Herd entered last night's game with a 7-9 record (1-3 in C-USA) with the strongest victory of the 2005-2006 season being a narrow 77-74 victory over RPI #134 Kennesaw State. And no, that is not a typo.
Having such high expectations as a fan are great; maybe that's why our inaugural football season in Conference USA was such a disappointment. We were supposed to come in and dominate as we did against the MAC for the first few years over there. But that wasn't the case…
Marshall fans knew that we should not expect much from the basketball team again this year. Since Greg White left the basketball program in 2003 we haven't exactly seen the improvement that Marshall fans had hoped for. The move from the MAC has been good in one way for the Herd; at least we're in a basketball conference that we can compete in. But these were not the wins that the fans want. A .500 team with a 200+ RPI ranking isn't going to bring national headlines to our basketball program unless… Unless we start to see the improvement and get big wins like Wednesday's win over our in-state rivals.