CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One team enters today's Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic a work in progress. The other is simply showing a lot of progress.
Indeed, the disparity in experience between the West Virginia and Marshall women's basketball teams could well be a determining factor in the outcome of today's game, and coaches of both teams say as much.
Tip off is set for 1 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center with the men slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.
The Mountaineers (7-1) have gotten off to a fine start this season, in large part to a roster that consists of five seniors and a rotation that tends to go nine or 10 players deep.
Compare that to the Thundering Herd (3-4) of coach Matt Daniel, who is dealing with a roster featuring 10 new players, including five freshmen.
Marshall will also be without leading rebounder Cukwuka Ezeigbo (7.4 per game), who traveled to Nigeria to be with her family after the death of her father. She is expected to miss around a month.
"The future is promising, but we're not anywhere close to where we want to be thus far," Daniel said. "I don't think our record reflects the type of team we are. It shows our inconsistencies with youth and new faces.
"But I like our team, I love our team. The payoff will come. I don't know when that will be. It could be [today], it could be in conference play, or it could be five years from now."
West Virginia coach Mike Carey thinks that payoff could be coming soon, especially if his team doesn't show up ready to play today.
"He's got them playing hard and that's key," Carey said. "They're listening, they're running a lot of sets, so that means they're disciplined. You can throw the records out the window. They're going to play hard and we're going to have to play well."
That's exactly what the Mountaineers have done with the exception of a 70-61 loss to Ohio State early in the season in which WVU shot just 30.9 percent from the floor.
Otherwise, West Virginia has flashed the kind of defense and balance that could have it poised for a long postseason run.
After a knee injury put her out before last season even started, West Virginia senior Asya Bussie was granted a medical redshirt and is back to her old self, averaging 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.