CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marshall players know they cannot sneak up on Cincinnati today at the Civic Center. Not after the Thundering Herd humbled the Bearcats on their home court a year ago.
"They're going to be really fired up. They're going to be really upset because we beat them," said MU forward Dennis Tinnon. "Every team wants their revenge if you get the second chance, after you lost to those guys. We know that they're going to come in with lots of energy from the jump, and they're going to want to beat us really bad."
Or maybe Cincinnati, 9-0 and ranked 11th in the land, is simply coming to town to take care of business. Maybe the Herd's 73-69 overtime win in late November 2011 is nothing but a line in the Bearcats' media guide.
"It's hard to even think back that long ago," UC coach Mick Cronin said Friday, before his team traveled to Charleston.
Indeed, it's easier to think ahead to today's 2 p.m. tip of a game airing on CBS Sports Network. On paper, it's a mismatch between a Marshall team struggling to score from distances near and far, and a Cincinnati team that was one of 13 undefeated teams in Division I entering Friday's play.
Add to that the Herd (6-4) missing leading scorer and assist man DeAndre Kane (injured hand), and the odds keep getting longer for the semi-home team.
That will mean more minutes for Chris Martin, who has been a bit disappointing off the bench so far, and for freshman Tamron Manning. It will mean junior-college transfers Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver, averaging a combined 29 points a game, will have to do more.
"Everybody's got to do more," said Herd coach Tom Herrion. "When you take an important player off any team, as you are with DeAndre not being able to play, it's not one guy, it's everybody being able to collectively step up.
"We don't ask guys to play outside their abilities, but I want everybody to collectively do more. We've got to tweak things as a [coaching] staff, make sure we're doing things a little differently, where we're going with the ball, who's getting shots."
It will mean Robert Goff and Nigel Spikes will have to stand tall against a deep Cincinnati frontcourt rotation, and stay out of foul trouble. That is a difference from last season's Bearcats, where Yancey Gates was the face of the inside game.
"I think they've got a little more depth than they had last year," Tinnon said. "We watch film and see they've got some pretty good guys that came in this year. The ones that were there last year are playing better than ever."
So far, the Bearcats have nobody playing more than 30 minutes per game, with All-American candidate Sean Kilpatrick logging 29.7. By comparison, Pittman and Tinnon are averaging more than 31 minutes, with the now-sidelined Kane logging 38.2 per game.
Considerable advantage, Bearcats.