The Zips didn't have starting point guard Alex Abreu against WVU, but he returned in time for the Marshall contest.
"I think it was pretty evident," McClanahan said of the importance of Abreu to the Zips.
For McClanahan's part, he hasn't started since a Dec. 10 visit to Cleveland State - a span of nine games. His confidence was shaken, but the combo guard bounced back on Saturday with 10 points, two rebounds and an assist in a 68-63 win over Ohio - a team that also won at Marshall.
In many ways, McClanahan knows as much as any opponent about the teams that will meet on Wednesday.
Before moving on to Akron, he annually attended the Capital Classic, watching the Herd's two victories under Jirsa.
"Skill-wise, Marshall is probably better, but talent-wise, you can't beat Kevin Jones," McClanahan said. "That dude is getting four or five offensive rebounds a game."
Jones is averaging 4.5 offensive boards per contest. Interestingly, Marshall's Dennis Tinnon is averaging 4.9 per game.
By all accounts, this year's Marshall squad is among the deepest in recent memory. While the level of talent is close, McClanahan said, it's that in-game attitude that sets the Mountaineers apart from their in-state, non-conference rival.
"Marshall is probably a little deeper," McClanahan said. "It really is close, but I think WVU plays so much harder. Marshall doesn't play nearly as hard as West Virginia, but they are very talented."
West Virginia's RPI ranking is 13, while Marshall's is 34, making this a bit more critical contest for the Herd.
That, along with the rivalry, evens the playing field between these teams, no matter which is more talented, McClanahan said.
"It's an in-state rival, so Marshall will play hard," McClanahan said. "It's a hard one to match up. Kent beat West Virginia, then lost to Buffalo. WVU can be No. 1 and Marshall dead last, you just throw it all out the window."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.