HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- If there's anything that can snap Marshall out of the funk associated with a three-game losing streak - the last loss at home Wednesday to struggling Southern Methodist - it's the Thundering Herd's Saturday afternoon guest.
Marshall (9-12, 2-4 Conference USA) hosts Central Florida and former Herd Coach Donnie Jones, who bolted Huntington for Orlando in 2010. It will be the last time the Knights enter the Cam Henderson Center as a C-USA opponent.
"UCF's a good team," Marshall junior guard DeAndre Kane said. "It's a rivalry and it should be a nice crowd. I don't know if they'll come out after what they've just seen, but it should be a nice crowd."
What the 5,407 fans saw Wednesday at the Henderson Center was a Herd team that shot 33.9 percent from the floor, 25 percent from 3-point range and 43.5 percent from the free throw line in losing 68-57 to an SMU team that had lost six of its previous seven games.
That's on top of allowing the Mustangs to shoot 48.1 percent from the floor and outrebound the Herd 41-35, events that led Marshall Coach Tom Herrion to say his team had lost its identity as a consistent unit in those two categories.
It was another example of Marshall's hot-and-cold nature this season.
The Thundering Herd lost by 11 to SMU after bulldozing previous C-USA opponents East Carolina and Tulsa at home by an average margin of 19.5 points. And after getting trounced by 56 at Southern Mississippi, the Herd rebounded to lose by one at Memphis, only to fizzle again Wednesday.
"It is a shocker," Herd senior forward Dennis Tinnon said of the SMU loss.
"We had that great intensity at Memphis. Not to take anything away from SMU, but we'd beaten them every time we've seen them, so it is a shocker. They were pretty good and they did what they had to do."