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Herd picked for second place in C-USA

October 20, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Marshall’s Thundering Herd finished fourth last season in the Conference USA men’s basketball regular season race and continued on to win the big prize at the end.

Marshall was 12-6 in the 2018 C-USA regular season and behind Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Western Kentucky in the standings before rolling to the conference tournament championship and then advancing into the NCAA tournament second round.

So, maybe being picked for second place in the 2018-19 season isn’t so bad.

Western Kentucky, the team Marshall defeated (67-66) for the 2018 C-USA tournament championship, was picked Thursday as the preseason favorite in a poll of conference head coaches. Marshall was second behind the Hilltoppers followed by Old Dominion. The Hilltoppers received nine first-place votes and the Thundering Herd picked up the other five.

The Hilltoppers, Herd and ODU Monarchs each had two players chosen for the 11-member preseason All-CUSA team.

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Western Kentucky ended its 27-11 season in the National Invitation Tournament semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Leading the Hilltoppers into a new season are preseason all-conference players Taevion Hollingsworth and Desean Murray. Hollingsworth, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, made the C-USA All-Freshman Team with averages of 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Murray is a 6-4 graduate transfer from Auburn who put up 10.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists as a junior.

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni’s high-scoring Herd has most of the key players back from a 25-11 season including preseason All-CUSA selections, 6-3 senior guard Jon Elmore and 6-4 senior guard C.J. Burks. Elmore was the conference leader in scoring average (22.7) and assists (6.8) while Burks chipped in 20.1 points a game.

Old Dominion’s preseason all-conference picks coming back from a 25-7 season are 6-2 senior guard Ahmad Caver and 6-5 senior guard B.J. Stith. Caver, who is joined by Elmore among 20 candidates for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, average 14.2 point and 6.2 assists last season. Stith produced 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

C-USA MEN’S PRESEASON POLL

(First-place votes)

1.Western Kentucky (9)

2. Marshall (5)

3. Old Dominion

4. North Texas

5. UTSA

6. Louisiana Tech

7. Southern Miss

8. UAB

9. Middle Tennessee

10. FIU

11. UTEP

12. Florida Atlantic

13. Charlotte

14. Rice

ALL-C-USA PRESEASON TEAM

Jon Davis, Charlotte

Daquan Bracey, Louisiana Tech

Jon Elmore, Marshall

C.J. Burks, Marshall

Roosevelt Smart, North Texas

Ahmad Caver, Old Dominion

B.J. Stith, Old Dominion

Zack Bryant, UAB

Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA

Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU

Desean Murray, WKU

HERD MADNESS

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Cam Henderson Center

ADMISSION: Free