3:06pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

Marshall Has A Chip On Its Shoulder

Coaches are always looking for an edge. A little extra something to use to motivate their players with the expectation of getting just a little more out of the team than the players think they can give. Tom Herrion doesn’t have to do that as Marshall travels to Murfreesboro, TN to play Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NIT Tuesday. 
The NCAA Selection Committee and NIT seeding did that for him.
“Yeah, we can use that as a chip on our shoulder, kind of feel like we got robbed,” Damier Pitts said about being snubbed for the NCAA Tournament and being seeded fifth in the NIT. “It’s a great accomplishment. I wish we could’ve made it to the NCAA tournament, but we’re in the NIT as a five seed. I thought we could’ve got a little better but we just got to do what we got to do.”
Marshall will play its seventh game in Tennessee this season when it tips off with the Blue Raiders and The Herd is out to prove something to the world. It’s out to prove it deserves a little more respect than it has received so far. 
“I just don’t think our conference gets any respect,” asserted Head Coach Tom Herrion. “That’s something we just got to continue to fight and battle and worry about ourselves.”
The only way to get respect is to go out and earn it and that is not something that is lost on this Thundering Herd team. Middle Tennessee State is not exactly a slouch either. The Blue Raiders won the Sun Belt regular season championship, but a loss to Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Championship game kept MTSU from making it to the NCAA Tournament. 
The Blue Raiders’ LaRon Dendy transferred to the program from Iowa and has been a leader all season for Middle Tennessee State. Dendy, named the Sun Belt Player of the Year, is averaging nearly 15 points per game and seven boards per game. Dendy has also collected nine games of 20 points or more this season.
“Dendy is outstanding. He’s a versatile forward who can score it in and score it out and is very athletic,” scouted Herrion.  
He’s complimented by Marcos Knight who is average around 12 points per game and has scored in double figures 22 times this season.
“Knight is a really good player who is a strong bully type wing player,” praised Herrion. 
Marshall is just 2-6 all-time in NIT appearances and hasn’t played in the National Invitational Tournament since 1988 when it lost to VCU during a first round home game in Huntington. Damier Pitts understands the only way to earn respect is to win in the postseason. He and the rest of The Herd want their season to end in New York, not Tennessee.
“NIT is a national tournament and the final four is at Madison Square Garden, and that’s our goal to get to the final four,” said Pitts.
Follow Dave on Twitter @wvmetro_dwilson. E-mail comments to dwilson@wvradio.com

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