Unless a favorable NCAA ruling falls out of the sky in the waning hours before tip time, the Herd will miss point guard Kareem Canty, whose freshman eligibility is in question. And there is the question of 2011-12 leading scorer DeAndre Kane and big man Nigel Spikes, who were held out of the Herd's exhibition last week for unspecified reasons.
Don't expect Herrion to tip his hand on their status, but he says big man Robert Goff is a full go.
The visiting Lancers were 10-21 in their sixth and final season as a Division I independent. As they enter the Big South Conference, 10th-year coach Mike Gillian has had to bring in a horde of newcomers. Only Tristan Carey, a 6-foot-4 guard who once played at La Salle, is a returning starter.
That presents difficulties, but at least the Lancers don't have to comb the country to build a schedule anymore.
"I know Mike Gillian really well," Herrion said. "I think they've got new life in that program [by entering the Big South]. Now they have a more realistic hope, as the season unfolds, of playing for something.
"They've got quickness. They've got a wing player, No. 12 [Carey], can really score. They've got some talented young players, I know his teams play really, really hard, great energy. So there will be some challenges that lie within that game - our first true night, a little bit of energy by our kids.
"We'll have to calm down a little bit."
And play better defense, particularly in transition. And shoot better, especially at the free-throw line. And build some chemistry.
The latter might not be so challenging, to hear Pittman and others tell it.
"Chemistry, that's the reason I'm here," Pittman said. "I would never have signed here if I didn't feel at home. I felt player and guys that we can connect, be one and have one mission, one dream."
For the Thundering Herd, the pursuit of that dream starts tonight.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.