HUNTINGTON — The exact date of Marshall’s 2020-21 men’s basketball season opener is now known after the full schedule was released on Friday morning.
Marshall will start its regular season at home with a Nov. 25 contest against Coppin State. It is one of 15 home dates for the Herd on the year.
As previously reported, now officially gone from Marshall’s 2020-21 schedule are games at Xavier, Virginia Tech and Kentucky — all of which would’ve equaled a pay-day for the Herd.
While those games are off the table for this year, the schedule is still one that Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said was exciting for fans.
“I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to play our original schedule, but under the circumstances, we are very happy with our basketball schedule,” Hamrick said.
One of the highlights of Marshall’s 2020-21 schedule includes a four-game home-stand to end the non-conference portion that features former Mid-American Conference rivals Ohio (Dec. 13) and Toledo (Dec. 16), followed by a key battle with Northern Iowa (Dec. 19) and UNC-Asheville (Dec. 22).
Prior to that home-stand, Marshall plays three road non-conference games at Wright State (Dec. 2), Akron (Dec. 5) and College of Charleston (Dec. 9).
In addition to announcing the non-conference format, Marshall announced its new-look Conference USA schedule after the league amended its scheduling format earlier this week.
Previously, games were scheduled to be played in a two-game series at one venue with a Thursday-Saturday format.
This week, the league announced it was changing that to a Friday-Saturday format, which helps the league members with safety protocols and travel costs.
“I’m okay with the conference schedule because it lends itself to the safety aspect of our student-athletes and our visiting teams,” Hamrick said.
The marquee conference game will be a Jan. 17 battle with rival Western Kentucky, which is part of the Herd’s only home-and-home set in league play. The Herd travels to take on the Hilltoppers on Jan. 14 in what should be a televised game, given its Wednesday date.
Other Conference USA games/series of note for the Herd in Huntington include Jan. 8-9 affairs with Charlotte, Jan. 29-30 against FAU, Feb. 12-13 against Middle Tennessee and a season-ending Feb. 26-27 series against North Texas.
With the schedule now ironed out, Hamrick said full attention turns to analyzing data and coming up with a plan for fan attendance at games this fall and winter.
As COVID-19 numbers continue to increase, Hamrick said he and his staff are working together for the best plan possible.
“We’re still working through that process,” Hamrick said. “There are several different entities involved and everyone has to feel comfortable from the university, county, state and conference levels.”
The season-opener against Coppin State is part of a multi-team event hosted by the Herd over a three-day span. Coppin State and Tennessee State meet on Nov. 26 before the Herd plays Tennessee State on Nov. 27.