Zachary Hiser | The Parthenon
After starting the season with lofty expectations, Marshall was expected to finish fourth in Conference USA at the start of the year. Despite the predictions, Marshall finished in last place in the East division at year’s end.
In his first press conference at the start of the year, head coach Dan D’Antoni talked about how the non-conference schedule was constructed for the team to be tested in the early portion of the season: “I thought all of our mid-major games were top of the line mid-majors,” D’Antoni said. “They’re the ones that will compete for conference championships: Toledo, Northern Iowa, Ohio.”
Marshall’s last win of nonconference play came on Dec. 11 against the Eastern Kentucky Colonials. It was a reunion game for Marshall as the Colonials had a transfer in Jannson Williams, Marshall’s program leader in blocks.
After this win against Eastern Kentucky, the Thundering Herd fell into a massive losing streak. It ultimately ended with a win against the UAB Blazers on Jan. 29, a night in which Marshall was without its star guard Taevion Kinsey. For the remainder of the season, Marshall continued struggling, winning only three more games in the regular season.
Marshall won its first matchup in the Conference USA tournament against Florida International University before losing in round two to Louisiana Tech. After the game, D’Antoni said that the biggest team need was getting players in the transfer portal.
“We’ve already spotted a couple of perimeter players,” D’Antoni said. “So, you know, we’ll be in the mix, there’ll be a lot of people going after them. We have to present our program and sell our program. We have to have a program that’s sellable.”
The next step for Marshall Basketball will be the move to the Sun Belt Conference. It is scheduled, as of now, for July 2022.
“We’ll see when we move into the Sunbelt where we try and see where we stack up all that,” D’Antoni said. “My whole goal coming back was to push Marshall into the NCAA (tournament) and to raise the level of recognition and play at the university.”