West Virginia and Marshall will meet on the hardwood once again on Sunday in the round of 32 in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
The annual series between the two West Virginia foes came to a close in 2015 after 44 meetings. But an first-round upset of 4-seed Wichita State on Friday has sent the Thundering Herd on to face the Mountaineers.
With the 45th meeting now set to be played more than 2,000 miles away from both campuses in San Diego, Calif., an inevitable debate on whether or not the rivalry-series should be resumed is well underway.
And maybe fans shouldn’t be so surprised that the two coaches, Bob Huggins and Dan D’Antoni, having clashing opinions when it comes to putting the teams back on the court each season.
Huggins, for one, doesn’t see the need to get the series back underway, according to a report from the Associated Press. And he didn’t do so without throwing a little bit of shade at Marshall when it comes to the status of the two programs in the college basketball landscape.
“We don’t really cross. You don’t want to make it out to be Duke-North Carolina. It’s not that at all.” — Bob Huggins
To be fair, Marshall isn’t exactly among the perennial powerhouses when it comes to the sport. That didn’t keep D’Antoni from pleading his case for the battle of West Virginia to resume — and with each team receiving their fair share of home court advantage.
“We’re a Division I school. You’ve got to treat us like one. I would love to play. … I’m not going to just play at Morgantown, so after that, ask West Virginia. I think it should be played. You play one time at their place, one time at our place, one time at a neutral place, whatever.”
West Virginia leads the all-time series 33-11 and has won its last five meetings with Marshall. But the stakes have been raised to a new level for the latest edition on Sunday, with the winner moving onto the Sweet 16.
After that, only time will if see the Mountaineers and Thundering Herd go head-to-head again anytime soon, with no future meetings currently scheduled. All that we do know is that there is at least one advocate in the form of D’Antoni — but it could take some work in getting Huggins and West Virginia to express equal feelings in fully restoring the rivalry.
Tip-off for the West Virginia-Marshall game is set for 9:40 p.m. CT at Viejas Arena on March 18.
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