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NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Western Kentucky

Mar 11, 2013, 9:24 PM EDT

Ray Harper, Brandon Harris

Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: Sun Belt

Coach: Ray Harper

Record: 20-15, 10-10

Rankings and Ratings:

- Kenpom: 183
- RPI: 167
- AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Western Kentucky as a No. 16 seed in Monday’s bracket projection.

Names you need to know: TJ Price (15.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg), George Fant (12.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Jamal Crook (11.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.1 apg)

Stats you need to know: There’s only one thing that Western Kentucky does really well: get to the offensive glass. Their offensive rebounding percentage is 34.6%.

Tendencies: The Hilltoppers, in the middle of the season, lost six of eight, nine of 12 and 12 of 16 games. But they won three of their last four heading into the Sun Belt tournament, and then reeled off four wins in four days to earn the trip to the dance.

Big wins, bad losses: WKU had some chances to land a big win in non-conference play, but they whiffed on their chances — the closest they came was taking Southern Miss to overtime.

How’d they get here?: Western Kentucky got lucky when Florida International took out Middle Tennessee State in the semis and earned the automatic bid by beating the Panthers in the Sun Belt title game. For the second year in a row, the Hilltoppers made a run out of nowhere to earn a trip to the Big Dance.

Outlook: WKU has some talented guards and a capable big man in the middle, and it’s fair to say that some of their losses were the result of their best players being hurt. That said, this was a team that couldn’t get over .500 in league play, but the Hilltoppers struggled with injuries throughout conference play. Six of their top eight scorers missed time this season. Part of the reason they’ve won seven of their last eight games is that WKU is finally healthy. Will that be enough to land them an upset?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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