"We've got a completely different team this year, and we've been fortunate enough to stay somewhat healthy, and we've got some depth to our roster," Cronin said. "Playing hard is a lot easier when you have somebody who can check in for you when you don't play hard, so you're motivated. Also, you're rested because you don't have to play too many minutes.
"One thing about our team this year is we've been able to confidently play 10 guys, and that enables us to keep our intensity level up."
Kilpatrick, averaging an even 20 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, may illustrate how much the Herd will miss Kane on defense. Kilpatrick and backcourt mates Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker have combined for 60 3-point goals and shoot 43.2 percent from long range.
And that will pressure the Herd's perimeter defense, which is allowing foes to shoot 35.1 percent. Herrion wants that figure, ninth in Conference USA, a little lower.
Marshall's recent bugaboo is simply shooting. In its last four games, it has been outshot from the floor and has recorded its four worst field-goal percentages - 33.3, 36.4, 36.5 and 41.9. Three-point shooting hasn't been great (32.5 percent for season), but the Herd is shooting just 41.3 percent on 2-point shots in the last four games.
Scarver and Pittman have bolstered those numbers. For instance, they combined to shoot 8 of 15 from 3-point range against West Virginia 10 days ago at the Civic Center.
Perhaps they didn't know it's a building where 3-pointers usually go to die. "It really doesn't matter. I just focus on the rim and follow through on my shot," Scarver said.
Herrion knows he'll need all the buckets Scarver can sink. Ditto for Pittman, Tinnon and anybody else who can step up for the Herd today.
During his stint as a Pittsburgh assistant, and now as the Herd's head coach, Herrion has seen Cronin bring the Bearcats back from the dregs of the Big East over the last seven seasons, and knows the Herd may have its toughest game of the season.
"When you're top-10 in the country, you don't have a lot of holes or weaknesses," Herrion said. "Not a lot of them have been revealed yet, that I can see on tape.
"We recognize how good they are, but yet we know it's a great opportunity and a terrific challenge. Our kids are excited about the opportunity."
BRIEFLY This is the first time Marshall has played somebody other than West Virginia at the Civic Center since Nov. 28, 2009, a 60-53 win over Ohio. ... Cincinnati leads the series 19-12, though Marshall leads 9-4 in Huntington. ... Marshall is 8-51 against teams ranked in the Associated Press poll, with the last such game Dec. 6, 2011 against No. 3 Syracuse. The Herd's last win over a ranked team came Jan. 19, 2011, a 75-71 win over No. 21 WVU.