HUNTINGTON - As disappointing, agonizing, grating as Marshall's recent troubles have been, there is one mitigating fact: The Thundering Herd isn't losing to bad teams.
As is well documented, MU has lost six of the last seven, dating to its setback against West Virginia in the Capital Classic. Five of those have come in Conference USA play, bringing the Herd to an even 5-5 in the league standings.
The record of those five teams is a tidy 33-15. Even Alabama-Birmingham, which inflicted a stinker of a defeat on Jan. 25 in Huntington, has pulled up to 5-5 in the conference.
OK, that 33-15 record includes five wins over Marshall, with UAB also losing once to the Herd. Take those away and the count is 28-14.
Picky, picky, picky.
The point is, the Herd hasn't lost to any doormats, and they have played six of 10 league games away from home. Four of its last six games are at Cam Henderson Center, and the next three come against the league's 10th-, 11th- and 12th-place teams, who have a combined league record of 8-21.
In other words, it's time for this Herd team to get off the deck, dust itself off and win a few games. That starts tonight, as it takes on East Carolina (12-11, 3-7) at Cam Henderson Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
"We've played the most road games in conference play, and we're the only school to play six of its first 10 on the road," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "That's not an excuse, it's a fact. We've got a great opportunity lying ahead of us, four out of six at home, three Saturday night games for our great fan base.
"We'll take it one at a time. East Carolina presents us with enough challenges, and we'll have our hands full with the Pirates."
For one thing, Marshall's top scorer, DeAndre Kane, is doubtful, as he will be attending the funeral of his father, Calvin, this morning in his hometown of Pittsburgh.