Marshall Men's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Marshall Thundering Herd

Conference USA (24-10, 13-5)

Marshall had some tough outings along the way, but the team ended up with a respectable 12-6 record in Conference USA play. More importantly, Coach Dan D’Antoni’s team played their best basketball in March. Following a regular season finale win at Middle Tennessee, the Thundering Herd beat UTSA, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky to claim the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Big Wins: 1/18 Middle Tennessee (73-63), 3/3 at Middle Tennessee (76-67), 3/10 vs Western Kentucky (67-66)
Bad Losses: 11/16 at Morehead State (83-86), 11/19 at Illinois (74-91), 2/1 at Texas-San Antonio (77-81)
Coach: Dan D’Antoni
Why They Can Surprise:
This team is all about assists and blocks. Jon Elmore dishes out 6.9 assists per game and C.J. Burks and Jarrod West share the ball effectively as well. Elmore and Burks are also the team’s top two scorers. Elmore can do it all. He is a prolific three-point shooter and is never afraid to use his 6-3 frame to attack the basket and at least get to the charity stripe. Burks is equally prolific from beyond the arc and has a very nice mid-range game too. Those two will score in bunches and find their teammates as well. One of those teammates is Ajdin Penava, who averages 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. More impressively, he leads the nation with 4.1 blocks per game. When the 6-9 junior is roaming the paint, Marshall is not easy to score against around the basket.
Why They Can Disappoint:
However, this is a team that will give up points. They allow over 79 points per game. Winning in shootouts is fine, but that is tough to do in the NCAA Tournament where so many teams have potent offenses that will find a way to take advantage of Marshall’s shortcomings on defense. The other problem is in the rebounding department, which often leads to some of those points being allowed. The Thundering Herd has a -4.6 rebounding margin and that will be a problem in the NCAA Tournament. Penava is a good rebounder and Elmore does a lot of work on the glass for a guard, but freshmen Jannson Williams and Darius George will have to grow up quickly and help out.
Probable Starters:
Jarrod West, Freshman, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 2.9 apg
C.J. Burks, Junior, Guard, 20.5 ppg, 3.1 apg, 4.1 rpg
Jon Elmore, Junior, Guard, 22.8 ppg, 6.9 apg, 6.0 rpg
Jannson Williams, Freshman, Forward, 5.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Ajdin Penava, Junior, Forward, 15.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.1 bpg
Key Role Players:
Rondale Watson, Junior, Guard, 8.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Darius George, Freshman, Forward, 4.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 84.5 (12th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 79.3 (325, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.2 (54, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.3 (206, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.9 (23, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (173, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.8 (39, 1)
Rebound Margin: -4.6 (322, 13)
Assists Per Game: 17.4 (10, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (238, 11)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    NIT     First Round loss to Middle Tennessee
2011    CIT      First Round loss to Ohio
2010    CIT      First Round win over Western Carolina
2010    CIT      Second Round loss to Appalachian State
1988    NIT     First Round loss to VCU
1987    NCAA Round of 64 loss to TCU
1985    NCAA Round of 64 loss to VCU
*all team stats through 3/4