Two of the best teams in the league — both in preseason projection and actual practice — play in what is something of a rivalry game. From The Charleston Gazette’s Doug Smock’s preview story:
“It’s huge. It’s kind of a rivalry game in the conference,” said Jon Elmore, Marshall’s top scorer. “Locations [of league teams] aren’t that close to us [but] Western is one of the closer ones. The games got a little chippy in the past; you know the story with football, how they hate each other.
Marshall has looked the best, with their offense looking unstoppable at times. The defense in non-conference play was a little suspect, but so far in league action they have been blitzing teams.
By “teams” I mean Southern Miss and La Tech, of course. That can be taken with the slightest grain of salt, given Southern Miss’s was never thought of as one of the conference’s better teams (most projections had them in the lower half) and La Tech’s 0-3 beginning (including a loss at home to UTSA).
WKU (10-5, 2-0 C-USA) at Marshall (11-4, 2-0 C-USA)
Saturday, Jan. 6 | 7 p.m.
Huntington, W.Va. | Cam Henderson Center
WKU is one of the league’s better teams and comes in having played like it. They get 4-star recruit Josh Anderson but do not expect him to be an impact immediately.
This should be one of the best games we see featuring the Tops in the conference schedule, and the fact that Josh Anderson will be available could be a huge momentum swing in the Tops’ favor.
Having said that, I don’t think Anderson will be much of a factor outside of him being able to be out on the floor so other guys can rest. I don’t think he’ll be useless on the floor tonight, I just think we’ll have to wait a couple of games before we see the Anderson we’ve all been waiting to see. I’m ready to be proven wrong, though.
The Hilltoppers will try to slow the game with their big guys inside and they might have a shot. Kenpom has the Hilltoppers ranked higher in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Vegas has Marshall an ever-so-slight favorite at half-a-point. That is to say this game is a toss up.
At the very least it will be fun to watch two of the league’s better teams go at it. Marshall boasts three of the league’s top-5 scorers. WKU has one of the best defenses. Let’s do it.