Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
The weather is as usual here in Seattle, West Virginia.
n Hey, Stephen, it’s even.
During several junctures in Marshall University’s 2019-20 basketball season, it seemed unlikely those words ever would be written.
But guess what.
Here they are.
That’s because the Thundering Herd upset Louisiana Tech, 83-79, Saturday night in the Cam Henderson Center to improve its record to 12-13 overall and 6-6 in Conference USA.
Nearly a year ago to the day, Marshall lost to Rice, 74-69, on the road to fall to 13-12 overall and — wait for it — 6-6 in C-USA. Almost the same exact record just 366 days apart.
Everybody remembers what the 2018-19 team went on to accomplish behind Jon Elmore and C.J. Burkes. Marshall finished 23-14 and won the CIT championship.
But who would have guessed the young, inexperienced 2019-20 Herd would be standing at virtually the same crossroads this season?
Well, except Danny D’Antoni.
“This is a reload,” said the veteran MU head coach. “We really didn’t fall off anywhere. We’re very young, but have the same record we had with a veteran team. So, the future looks bright. It’s not guaranteed, but it looks bright. We’ll see what happens.”
n As it turns out, I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness.
It seems someone else involved with Conference USA also has taken offense to the league’s often poor officiating in basketball games.
C’mon down, Todd Stewart.
Western Kentucky’s athletic director called out the officiating recently in an article published by the Bowling Green Daily News.
“Our officials as a whole, they do a good job and get it right most of the time,” Stewart was quoted. “They’re in a tough business where when they do it right, nobody talks about it, but when they get it wrong, it’s a big deal. I think on this past road trip, they got it wrong. They got it wrong at the end of two straight games and it cost us.”
Stewart was referring to the Hilltoppers’ road trip to FIU and Florida Atlantic, which coincided with Marshall’s road trip to the same schools.
Both visiting schools experienced questionable officiating. WKU had a seeming foul changed to an FAU possession and a very questionable 10-second violation that turned into an even more questionable timeout.
Marshall had a situation where Iran Bennett appeared to be shooting a two-shot foul, but instead the officials called it a one-shot foul. When Bennett missed the free throw, FAU grabbed the rebound and scored while MU’s players stood and watched. The officials admitted the error and gave Bennett another foul shot (which he missed), but the FAU field goal didn’t come off the scoreboard.
“There’s accountability across the board for coaches and players when we lose a game,” said Stewart. “What we’d like is accountability for everybody. There were calls that hurt us. I just think we need accountability across the board because these games are important.”
Stewart is 100 percent correct.
“Curtis Shaw is the supervisor of men’s basketball officiating and every year at the spring meetings, he pushes for officials to get paid more,” said Stewart. “That’s fine, but I think it’s a reminder that these guys aren’t volunteers. They get paid to do these games. I think anything in life that you get paid for, there’s an expectation to get it right.”
It won’t work any other way.