GAMEDAY: Tops vs. ‘Hawks

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

 

Not that I’m an incredibly busy guy or anything, but I really, really hope the Tops can handle things in 40 minutes tonight

Over the past 2 games, WKU has played 15 minutes of extra roundball, and it’s getting in that time of the season where every chance for rest is valuable, and the boys can’t be adding that kind of stress on themselves.

However, the Tops aren’t alone in their overtime adventures – in their past 5 games, tonight’s opponent (that being the ULM Warhawks) have also played 3 overtime sessions; a double-OT upset win over ULL and an OT loss to the Mavericks of UT-Arlington.

The Warhawks come into the evening with an overall record of 6-7, but a 3-2 conference record, which is far and away better than what anyone who knows Sun Belt basketball would have guessed to begin the season. While, granted, 2 of ULM’s conference wins are against South Al and Troy, the ‘Hawks did have to comeback to win both of those games, and the W over ULL certainly does prove, at the very least…something.

WKU and ULM are put together very similarly, as both teams have begun to rely heavily on players from JUCO/community college as opposed to bringing in a bulk of their players straight out of high school. With the success WKU has had under Harper, and ULM already surpassing its win total from a year ago, it appears this is a good way to build a mid-major team.

ULM is lead by junior forward Tylor Ongwae, who averages 15.8 points per game, but since conference play has started, he has put up an average of 21 points in the past 5 contests. Guard Amos Olatayo and forward Jayson James also average double figures on the season, and James further leads the team in rebounds (6.4 per game) and assists (4.2), as well as ranks second in the entire Sun Belt in shooting percentage (65.7%).

For the Tops, they bring in 4 double-digit scorers, with T.J. Price, George Fant, Trency Jackson, and Chris Harrison-Docks, who have made a tremendous and immediate impact since joining the team in December. Fant also enters the contest leading the team in rebounds (7.6 per game), and has picked up his play in the SBC portion of the schedule.

While ULM is an easy win in the past, usually, I’d say to be weary this time around. But, WKU has only dropped one game in 11 matchups with the ‘Hawks (however, it did come in Monroe), and WKU are riding momentum following the win against A-State.

Lets predict the four double-figure scorers and Brandon Harris will get the call to start tonight for the Tops, as it’ll comedown to the play of each team’s star forwards (Fant/Price for WKU and James/Ongwae for ULM).

The women gave us a dandy of a game last night, and lets hope the men can give us another memorable performance.

Tip off is at 7 CT, and can be seen on ESPN3.

As always, we will have live tweeting over on the twitterverse, and a live-thread for you to share your thoughts and opinions throughout the game.

Stand up and cheers.

Topics: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

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