Marauders ready for Thundering Herd

McMasterThe McMaster men’s basketball team will welcome the Marshall University Thundering Herd to the Burridge Gym for a rare pre-season game on Monday (Aug. 19) with tip-off set for 8 p.m.

Located in Huntington, West Virginia, Marshall competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division One ranks as a member of Conference-USA. The visit to McMaster is part of a Canadian tour that will see the Thundering Herd play games against the Algoma Thunderbirds, Windsor Lancers, Western Mustangs, and A-Game Hoops club team.

“It’s been almost 10 years since we have welcomed a D-1 program to the Burridge Gym and it’s long overdue,” said McMaster coach Amos Connolly. “The time is right for us to challenge ourselves and hopefully this game signals the return of regular international competition for the Marauders.”

The Marauders hosted Bradley University in October 2004, dropping a 91-79 decision in the last visit by an NCAA team to Hamilton.

The NCAA allows teams to make an international trip every four years, and many have used the opportunity to visit Canada in order to get an early start on preparations for their upcoming seasons. Marshall coach Tom Herrion will use the trip to help break in seven new players.

“Something like this can be so beneficial – the bonding, camaraderie, togetherness. We won’t have a big travel party, just us in a bus. Mostly, I’m excited about this group being able to spend more time together, the practices are huge, but getting game experience will help us,” said Herron in comments on the Marshall Athletic Department website.

Connolly believes the game will be a terrific measuring stick as he prepares his squad for the 2013-14 Ontario University Athletics season.

“We’ve recruited well and several of our players were considered to be D-1 calibre prospects,” said the Marauder mentor. “A game like this helps us evaluate our players in both the short and long-term. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity for the program.”