HUNTINGTON - The Marshall men's basketball team can wipe the slate clean starting now in preparation for this week's Conference USA tournament.
But, Thundering Herd Coach Tom Herrion said, the same can be said for all 11 teams in this year's field.
"Whatever seed you come in, it doesn't matter," Herrion said Sunday. "Every team goes in thinking that way. That's what tournament play is all about. It's survive and advance in its simplest terminology. All teams' focus is simply to win that next game."
Marshall's next game is 9:30 p.m. Wednesday versus Tulane in the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Herd (13-18, 6-10 C-USA) is the No. 9 seed facing the eighth-seeded Green Wave (18-13, 6-10 C-USA), and will enter that contest trying to bounce back from its regular-season-ending 86-79 loss at East Carolina.
The problems Marshall faced against ECU mirrored the problems the Herd has faced for most of the year. Once again, Marshall had trouble defending the entire floor, and especially the 3-point line. The Pirates made 24 of 46 shots overall (52.2 percent) and 10-of-20 from beyond the arc (50 percent).
That's a big switch from Marshall's first game versus ECU, when the Herd held the Pirates to 32.8 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent shooting from the 3-point line. The Herd led the Pirates on Saturday, 62-59, with 5:58 left in the game, but ECU's Miguel Paul scored seven straight points to give the Pirates a 66-62 advantage.
"They made some plays and then we made plays," Herrion said. "We didn't get enough quality stops down the stretch. I thought our offense was more than good enough to win the game. We took the lead because we got stops and played good defense in transition."
Marshall is ninth in the 12-team Conference in field goal percentage defense (44.2 percent allowed) and last in 3-point field goal percentage defense (37.1). Opponents have shot better than that from the floor in seven of the Herd's last 10 games. They've shot better than that from the 3-point line in five of Marshall's last 10 games.