Skip to comments.WKU vs. Mississippi Valley State - NCAA Tournament First Round
Posted on 03/13/2012 10:30:04 AM PDT by WKUHilltopper
GAME NOTES: WKU vs. Mississippi Valley State - NCAA Tournament First Round - 03/13/12
Photo by Western Kentucky University
DAYTON, Ohio After a stunning run through the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament, WKU heads to its 22nd NCAA Tournament beginning Tuesday night at 5:30 (CT) in the first round in Dayton, Ohio against Mississippi Valley State.
The Hilltoppers are riding a six-game winning streak into their third NCAA Tournament trip in the last five seasons, and the 2012 squad will be looking to become the 12th WKU team to win a game in the Big Dance.
WKU rolled through the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last week with four wins in four days, and a win on Tuesday would send the Hilltoppers to Louisville for a second-round matchup against Bluegrass foe and tournament number-one overall seed Kentucky.
WKU has never played in the NCAA Tournament First Round, but the Hilltoppers are 1-4 all-time in tournament games contested in Dayton.
Thursday's game will be televised nationally on truTV with Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr and Tracy Wolfson on the call.
The game will be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt doing the commentary.
Complete game notes are available at the link at the top of the page.
GAME 34 #16 WKU (15-18, 7-9 SBC) vs. #16 Mississippi Valley State (21-12, 17-1 SWAC) 2012 NCAA Tournament First Round March 13, 2012 // 5:30 PM (CT) University of Dayton Arena (13,266) // Dayton, Ohio
QUICK SHOTS Each of the last 12 full-time WKU head mens basketball coaches, now including Ray Harper, have taken teams to the NCAA Tournament, beginning with the legendary E.A. Diddle in 1940. A win on Tuesday would give the Hilltoppers wins in their last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2008 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, 2009 NCAA Tournament Second Round) and make the 2012 team the 12th Hilltopper squad to win a game in the tournament. Since 1993 WKU is 6-8 in NCAA Tournament games, and the rest of the Sun Belt Conference is a combined 0-14. In 13 tournament appearances since the NCAA began seeding teams, this years 16 seed is the lowest the Hilltoppers have received. WKU has held 11 of its last 14 opponents to 70 points or fewer and is 9-2 in that stretch, and in the first 19 games of the season the Hilltoppers did it 10 times but were 4-6. Kahlil McDonald and George Fant are each averaging 13.7 points per game during the current six-game winning streak, and Derrick Gordon is at 12.7 points per contest. Entering the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, WKU had only one player averaging double-figure scoring (Gordon, 11.7), and in four Sun Belt Conference Tournament games three Hilltoppers averaged at least 12.0 points per game (Fant 14.8, McDonald 14.5, Gordon 12.3). As a team, WKU was plus-8.5 in rebounding in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament after concluding the regular season minus-1.4 boards per game. In the last five minutes of Sun Belt Conference Tournament games, WKU went to the free throw line 44 times compared to 10 for the opponents, shot 66.7 percent from the field compared to 30.3 and had just five turnovers. Two WKU freshmen have never averaged double-figure scoring in the same season since freshmen became eligible for the varsity team in 1972-73 (Gordon, 11.9; Fant, 10.3). The Hilltoppers are 6-0 this season when allowing fewer than 60 points in a game. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, WKU is 18-7 when Jamal Crook has at least four assists and 9-2 when he and Kahlil McDonald combine to dish out at least eight assists. Derrick Gordon was the only Sun Belt Conference freshman to be averaging at least 11.5 points per game in the regular season.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS In the first three games of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament combined Teeng Akol had 16 points, and in Tuesdays championship game he had a career-high 23. Kahlil McDonald has had at least 10 points in six-straight games and is shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 44.7 percent from three-point range and 95.0 percent from the free throw line (19-for-20). In the last five games, OKaro Akamune is 7-for-9 from the floor and is averaging 13.4 minutes per game, compared to 6.8 minutes and 2.1 points per game over the nine prior. Teeng Akol is averaging 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in Hilltopper wins and 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per defeat. T.J. Price is averaging 9.9 points per game away from home this season and has hit 42.9 percent of his three-point tries. T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 10 of the last 13 games. George Fant has led WKU in rebounding in eight of the last 14 games. Jamal Crook has had 12 10-plus point scoring games this season after entering the year with just one in two previous seasons. Nigel Snipes has converted on 17 of his last 19 free throw tries. Derrick Gordon has played at least 30 minutes in 28 of the last 32 games. George Fant has had 17 games of at least six points and six rebounds this season.
HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS WKU has notched six-straight wins for the first time this season and third time in the last three seasons. WKU has come back to win six of the last seven times it has trailed at halftime, compared to losing 12-straight in that situation before that and 13 of 14 on the season. During the current six-game winning streak, the WKU bench is outscoring the opponents reserves 21.0 points to 12.5 points. A freshman has led WKU in scoring in 21 of the last 25 contests. In the last 13 games, WKU is holding opponents to 66.5 points per game while forcing an average of nearly 14 turnovers a contest and is 9-4 in that span. The opponents leading scorer has had at least 20 points in six of the last 13 contests. The Hilltoppers have had 14 or fewer turnovers in 11 of the last 16 games. Derrick Gordon is the only Hilltopper to have started each of the first 33 games of the year. The Hilltoppers have used 14 different starting lineups in 33 games played. Five different Hilltoppers have missed at least one game this season due to injury, and three others have been unavailable for games at various points. WKU has started four freshmen eight times this season (2-6 record when doing so). Seven different players have led WKU in scoring this season after four did so in 2010-11. WKU has scored 60 points or fewer seven times, topping its total from 2010-11 (6). WKUs 18 losses in 2011-12 have come by an average of 10.4 points, and its 15 wins have been by an average of 6.1 per. WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 27 of its last 34 losses dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season. In 65 games since the start of the 2010-11 season, WKU has trailed at halftime 38 times (10-28 in those games). WKU and FIU were the only two conference schools with two players in the top 8 in rebounding in the regular season (Gordon, 6th; Fant, 8th). The Hilltoppers were first in the Sun Belt Conference in free throw percentage, third in offensive rebounds per game and fourth in assists per game and scoring in conference games this year. WKU was in the top-half of 10 of 21 conference statistical categories in league games. The Hilltoppers have made it to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament eight-straight times and in 21 instances in 30 years as a member of the league dating to 1983.
In other WKU related news, Darrin Horn has been fired as South Carolina coach today.
Hi! Nice to see you posting WKU stuff! :)=^..^=
I was thinking about you both on Sunday and doing my brackets for the men yesterday. :)=^..^=
Hey! Been meaning to get on Jim V’s radio room—just not be able to lately.
Hate that the NCAA saw fit to put WKU in a position to maybe have to play UK. I really wanted to be able to root the Hilltoppers through a few games. I attended WKU back in the late 70’s but I’m a Cat fan from birth. That being said...
GO HILLTOPPERS!!!!! (tonight anyway)
Zero is at this game. Teaching the UK Prime Minister all about B-Ball.
Zero looks like he has the green tint make-up on tonight.
Zero sure looked like a little wimp next to Clark.
He also said that he did not think he will have much more time see any more games. Not even the final four.
He also picked Ohio State to make the final four.
Late comeback might not have been good for WKU fans' nervous systems. :)
I turned the channel when I saw Obama at halftime. When will the media lovevest end? I can’t even watch a basketball game without gushing over Obama.
any references to any pub would be about Watergate...
I believe! :)
The game between WKU and UK is getting very intense. Best wishes to your team.