How would the Herd do in the body-banging Big East? Hard to tell, but it has played Cincinnati and Syracuse, beating each by 13 rebounds and leading a combined 37-25 in offensive boards.
With Tinnon, the 6-7, 220-pound Green Bay, Wis., native who came from the Kansas junior-college circuit, the Herd's offensive rebounding numbers almost seem fabricated. Tinnon averages 10.9 rebounds, which doesn't even lead Conference USA, but his 4.9 offensive boards per game have wowed opponents and teammates alike.
The Herd averages 17.6 offensive boards, which leads its conference by a large margin. Five times, MU has gathered more offensive rebounds than the opponent has on its defensive end, and has come close in a few other games.
C-USA ranks its teams on offensive rebounding percentage, and the Herd's 45.2 percent is nearly 6 percentage points above the nearest team.
DeAndre Kane - yes, the 6-4 guard - is second on the team at 5.9 rebounds per game, and he fights as hard as anybody inside. Starting center Robert Goff, 6-9, 240 pounds, is at 5.2, and 6-10 Nigel Spikes is grabbing 4.1 off the bench.
Goff is another Kansas juco import, and the 6-9, 240-pounder and Tinnon are ready to bang around in their first Capital Classic. They've seen the video of last year's game. What they're not ready for is a barrage of 64 fouls.
Forty whistles were blown in their game last weekend against Central Florida, and that was plenty for all involved. Tinnon couldn't believe what he saw from last year.
"The officials were not that great," he said. "I mean, the game was just called ... every touch, a little foul here, a little foul there. Everything was getting called by the refs. I'd rather the game not get called so [tightly]. It gives us an opportunity to bang a little bit, especially down low with these guys. They've got big bodies and everything.
"That was kind of terrible last year."
"Each team plays different, offensively and defensively," Herrion said. "But those experiences have given our guys, and our newer guys, more experience."
Tonight, that experience will be tested.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.