NCAA Preview: Western Kentucky HilltoppersPosted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009
Western Kentucky University (#12, South, Portland pod)
vs. Illinois (#5)
Thur. 3/19 at about 9:50 pm
Vegas Line: +4.5
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Conference: Sun Belt, automatic bid
Coach: Ken McDonald, hired as head coach 2008. Record at WKU = 24-8.
08-09 Record: 24-8 (15-3)
Last 12 Games: 11-1, won 7.
Best Win: vs Louisville, 68-54, 11/30/08
Worst Loss: at Denver, 74-78, on 1/24/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 108.6 (68th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 101.3 (168th)
Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): A.J. Slaughter (6’3″ junior guard), 15.8 ppg.
Unsung Hero: Sergio Kerusch (6’3″ senior guard), 11.2 ppg/7.4 rpg.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: None.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 25.3% (295th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Guarding the three. Opponents shoot 34.9%, 206th in the nation in that category.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …they get Slaughter lots of touches, and if they continue hitting the offensive glass hard, something they’ve done well all year.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they think just because they pulled off an upset last year, it will automatically happen this year.
Last Year Invited: 2008
Streak: Two years.
BestNCAA Finish: 1971 Final Four. Defeated Kansas in consolation game.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): +0.08
Distance to First Round Site: 2326 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Darrin Horn (South Carolina head coach), Clem Haskins are both alums, as is the PGA’s Kenny Perry. And everyone loves Big Red, the seemingly amorphous Hilltopper mascot.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Last year’s Sweet 16 loss. The ‘Toppers had their chances against UCLA.
Prediction: Not a team to take lightly. Wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one semi-upset win, since they are indeed peaking at the right time.
Major RTC stories: Sun Belt Conference Tourney Wrapup
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.