CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE teams aren't worth the e-mail they were transmitted on way back in October, but they can be illustrative.
This time around, Marshall had DeAndre Kane listed as a first-teamer, with Dennis Tinnon on the second unit.
When the three five-man teams are rolled out today, I figure Kane will be on the second unit and I'm pretty sure Tinnon will miss out altogether. When you're 6-10 in the conference, you won't get preferential treatment.
Of those on the preseason first-team, I expect exactly one to be on today's first unit - East Carolina's Miguel Paul.
The three real five-man squads, selected by the 12 league coaches, will be unveiled today. There is no honorable mention, though an extra man has been sneaked onto the list on occasion.
Marshall has yet to have a first-teamer. Kane was second-team last year and third-team in 2011; Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Wilkerson were second-team in 2010, and there are three other third-teamers: Mark Patton (2006), Markel Humphrey (2007, 2008, 2009) and Damier Pitts (2012).
Central Florida's Keith Clanton was named preseason player of the year, but I'm thinking point guard Isaiah Sykes was more valuable and potent in the conference schedule. I'll take Sykes to go along with Paul and the gimme of a quintet that also included Kane, Memphis' Tarik Black and Tulane's Ricky Tarrant.
Black could get the sixth-man award, which comes out Tuesday, while Tarrant is second banana on his own team.
The dilemma here is how to reward Memphis, who won all 16 league games, four more than Southern Mississippi. The Tigers deserve all they get, right?
But it's tough to stand out on what is, by C-USA standards, a deep team. If you ask me the two most dangerous players on that team, I will tell you point guard Joe Jackson and D.J. Stephens, the latter having a breakout senior year.
But Stephens, who shot 73.8 percent in league play and was second in blocked shots, somehow didn't average in double figures scoring in league play. He deserves better, but he'll go to the third unit, with Jackson the only Tiger on the first. (That happened in 2009, with perhaps a better Memphis team.)
If Tulane's Josh Davis isn't the fourth first-teamer, I surrender. Davis averaged a double-double (16.9 points and 10.3 rebounds) in league play. To fill out the unit, I take do-it-all Dwayne Davis from Southern Mississippi, who received the "he's only here for one year ... thank God" tag from MU coach Tom Herrion.
I refuse to put Kane below the second unit, though that could happen. He didn't finish at the rim as well as I liked, he had some problems handling the ball against a trap and his 3-point shot isn't great, but he leads the league in assists (all games). The man can dish the rock and deserves kudos for being an iron-man point guard.
I figure Houston's Joe Young, the only man to average 19 points, will go on the second, though I like Ta'Shawn Thomas better. Fill that unit out with Southern Miss' Neil Watson and some Memphis guy (Adonis Thomas, Geron Johnson, Chris Crawford, etc.), and boot Clanton to the third team.
For the third unit, I'll take Clanton, Stephens and Ta'Shawn Thomas for certain. It would be tough to overlook Texas-El Paso's Jacques Streeter, who led in assist-to-turnover ratio by far in league play.
What does that leave for honoree No. 15? ECU's Maurice Kemp would be a nice pick, so would Alabama-Birmingham's Rod Rucker.
And then there's the Herd's Elijah Pittman, tied for third in league games with 17.9 points per. He can take over a game, sometimes spectacularly, and he's one of the toughest for a defense to track.