The annual Capital Classic clash between West Virginia (14-4) and Marshall (7-11) comes up Wednesday night at Charleston.

Tip-off time for this 35th basketball meeting between the men’s teams is 8 o’clock in the Charleston Civic Center.

The women’s teams, each with as 12-7 record, will meet at 5:30 in the first half of the doubleheader.

Both games will be available on the Capital Classic TV Network in most areas.

West Virginia’s men are determined to snap their two-game losing streak in the series and regain state bargaining rights.

But Coach John Beilein, who’s 2-2 against Marshall, said before Tuesday afternoon’s practice that “It’s going to be a tough one.

“I think they’re a very good team,” he commented. “Just based on what I saw in their beating Tulsa and then winning at Tulane. I think Tulsa was 14-4.

“They’re very athletic and have guys with experience. They have about half of their points coming back from last year, and I think we have two or three points total coming back.”

Scoring in all of the last four meetings was in the 50s. Beilein said that’s unusual, since most college games are in the 60s and 70s.

“But for some reason this has been a very low-scoring game, usually determined in the last minute,” he said.

Coach Ron Jirsa, in his fourth season at Marshall, admits that the Thundering Herd really gets charged up for WVU.

“If we don’t play our very hardest and focus in on the game, they can beat us very handily,” he said.

“So that’s the mindset that has allowed us to scrap and do everything to stay in the game.

“We’ve got to play hard to stay in there, and we manage to do that.”

WVU leads the all-time series by a 24-10 margin. But MU has won three of the last five meetings.

Frank Young (14.3 ppg), Joe Alexander (11.9), and Alex Ruoff (10.4) lead the Mountaineers in scoring.

Rob Summers, 7-0 senior, is the top rebounder at 4.8 per game. Junior Darris Nichols leads the playmaking with 4.8 assists per game while scoring at a 9.4 ppg clip.

Markel Humphrey, 6-5 sophomore, leads the Thundering Herd in both scoring (14.2) and rebounding (6.3).

Other starters include 6-2 junior Mark Dorris (12.5, 3.9), 6-4 senior Travis Aikens (11.7, 4.9), 6-9 junior Jean Francois Bro Grebe (4.9, 3.8), and 6-1 senior Chris Ross (7.3, 3-1).

Alexander, 6-8 sophomore, said the Mountaineers consider this rivalry very important, especially since they were upset the past two seasons.

“They were underdogs and came out on top,” he recalled. “So it’s definitely a pretty good rivalry between the schools.

“So it’s very important for us, especially at this point in the season. We need to win this one.”

He believes having beaten North Carolina State in that arena on Dec. 6 should help the team. “I feel very comfortable having played there,” he said.

Nichols said, “Hopefully, we’re going to beat them this time. All I can guarantee is that we’ll go out there Wednesday night and play hard.

“This rivalry means a lot to West Virginia, and we don’t want to let our fans down.”

The Mountaineers, who have lost three of their last four outings, are trying to get back on track after losing at Cincinnati in overtime last Saturday.

They will return to Big East play on Sunday at home when DePaul visits the Coliseum.

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