HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Five games into its season, Marshall is trying to solve its greatest mystery: Why is this team getting outmuscled on the boards?
Don't fall for the Thundering Herd's plus-6.4 rebound margin overall. The minus-14 margins at Villanova and at Hofstra are confusing to coach Tom Herrion, rebounding maestro Dennis Tinnon and everybody else who knows the Thundering Herd program.
"I'm a little befuddled, to be honest with you," said Herrion, in his third year at MU. "It flares up again with Hofstra, Villanova a 'true' road game, that's concerning to me that we've been outrebounded in both situations, quite glaringly.
"That's one thing I thought we'd hang our hat on, every night. Maybe minus-2 here and there, but not the discrepancy there has been. That's probably been a little more alarming than a lot of other things."
Tinnon's goal, besides leading his team to a couple-dozen wins and more, is to lead the nation in rebounding, period. Offense, defense, you name it - but he's a mere eighth in Conference USA.
He is stunned about his team's board woes more than Herrion, perhaps, because he knows his team doesn't exactly dance through practice.
"We do that 'war drill' [in practice], we beat up on each other," Tinnon said. "But during the game, we don't want to touch anybody, we don't want to hurt anybody. But you sit here and watch [practice], everybody getting in arguments, starting to yell at each other, but we've got to do that to the other opponents. We've got to go hit them in the face, you know, jump on their backs and stuff like that."
Marshall (2-3) will try to reassert itself today when the Herd plays its second home game of the season against Nevada. Tipoff time at Cam Henderson Center is 7 p.m.
This is one of those Rating Percentage Index-driving opponents - not Top 25, but the Wolf Pack finished 28-7 last season and went three rounds deep into the National Invitation Tournament.