Coming off a disappointing six-game losing streak, the Charlotte 49ers will travel to Marshall to take on the Herd in the final two games of the season before the conference tournament. Marshall comes in with a 13-6 record and a 7-5 record in conference play. It will be one final test for the 49ers.
Players to watch for the 49ers
The sophomore sensation Jahmir Young headlines this week's players to watch. He has been the one consistent performer for the 49ers game in and game out this year. He comes into the series averaging 18.4 points per game and shoots 44% from the field. He is very quick laterally and has proven to be matchup nightmares for his opposition. Getting to the rim is one of his specialties. He looks to drive often, and when he chooses to go, he does so very effectively. He is a player that can get hot quickly and will need to do so if the 49ers hope to get wins on the road.
Another player to watch is senior guard Jordan Shepherd. While his scoring has fallen off slightly this season, his production has come in other ways for the 49ers this season. He plays very good defense and forces a fair share of turnovers as well. He has 31 steals and twelve blocks on the year. His presence on the court makes the 49ers a different team. He leads the team on both ends of the court and will look to do just that in this series.
Players to watch for the Herd
Taevion Kinsey is one of the best players in C-USA. He averages 19.8 points per game as well 5.9 rebounds per game to go along with his scoring. He shoots the ball over 50% from the field and over 83% from the free-throw line. His offensive production partially overshadows his defense, but he has 14 steals on the year and six blocks. He is the total package and will be a tough matchup for the 49ers.
Jarrod West is the second player to keep an eye on this series. He averages 13.2 points per game and shoots the ball at an efficient rate. What is most impressive about his play is that he has 46 steals on the year. He plays a physical brand of defense that many teams have had a hard time adjusting to, as seen in the number of steals. The 49er guards will have to be sharp to keep West from racking up steals this series.
Keys to a 49er victory
The interior play for the 49ers will be key. After not having Milos Supica for the 49ers' road trip to UTEP last week, the team will need to play efficiently in the painted area. Rebounding and post play will be one of the most important factors of this series for the 49ers. As far as guard play is concerned, these teams are matched up well. It will come down to which set of starting guards have better games that could prove what shifts the game in a certain team's favor. The last key to the game is limiting turnovers. Marshall is very solid on the ball's defensive side, so protecting the basketball and making the smarter pass will be a point of emphasis.
"We have to get back to our ways because we have lost our way on the defensive side of the ball," head coach Ron Sanchez said in his mid-week press conference.
Charlotte plays a basketball brand centered around their defense, and when their defense goes, the team tends to not play to the level they are capable of. This is something that Sanchez and his staff will emphasize to their team and have them ready come game time.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on March 5 and at 2 p.m. on March 6. Catch both games on ESPN+ or listen live on ESPN 730 The Game.