Herd anticipates intensity vs. WVU
HUNTINGTON -- Dennis Tinnon mentioned mental and physical toughness as two of the keys to success in the Capital Classic.
Emotions and energy will be in overdrive and the Charleston Civic Center will be packed with more than 12,000 spectators Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for the 41st men's basketball meeting between Marshall University (5-3) and West Virginia University (2-3).
Tinnon was on the court last season for Marshall when West Virginia won, 78-62.
"I've never played in an atmosphere like that," the senior forward said. "You get cussed at. You get booed at. You've got to have tunnel vision, block all that out, and have tunnel vision on your teammates, your coaches and that court."
West Virginia has ruled through the years, leading the all-time series, 29-11, since they met for the first time in the 1928-29 season. The games rotated between Morgantown, Huntington and Charleston for many years before landing permanently in the state capital in 1991-92. The Mountaineers have won 18 of 23 games played in Charleston.
Although the tickets are basically split 50-50 between the schools, Capital Classic crowds have been pro-WVU in Charleston.
Last season's attendance was 12,684.
"The Herd fans are so supportive," Tinnon said. "Even though we don't have as many fans, our 6,000 seems more like 20,000."
The physical nature of the game usually means a lot of fouls called and many free throw attempts.
Last season's game had 32 fouls (20 on Marshall) and West Virginia made 17 of 22 free throws while Marshall was 3-for-6.
"That's when it comes to mental toughness," said Tinnon, who was limited to 29 minutes by fouls, but had six points and 10 rebounds. "When you're by the rim you have to power up and either make it or they're going to foul you."
The Capital Classic is being played for the second time this calendar year.
After two decades of having the women's and men's games as a doubleheader usually in January or February, the format was changed for last season to split the games on separate nights, Jan. 18-19, 2012.