Well here we are for the 3rd Hilltopper game this week! Tonight’s foe is the struggling Jaguars from South Alabama. The Jags haven’t been able to do much with Sun Belt opponents this year, and I doubt they will be able to change that tonight with the Tops.
South Al is 1-10 in the Sun Belt and are on a six game losing streak, with their sole win in the SBC coming against the Ragin Cajuns. If the Jaguars want to give WKU a run for their money, leading scorer Augustine Rubit will have to continue to have big games. Rubit is averaging 17 points along with 9.3 rebounds per outting, and has been the backbone to South Alabama’s team so far, and things don’t look to change anytime soon. However, unlike power house college and NBA teams, he wont be able to do it alone, and will need assistance from teammates Antoine Allen (10.8 PPG) and Mychal Ammons (7.3 RPG). The Jags will need to make sure to limit their turnovers and capitalize on every possession to make this a game, along with shooting better from the charity stripe. Basically, South Al will need to wrap up every point that they can, and every freebie with the clock stopped will need to be taken advantage of. I personally don’t think the Jags will be in this ball game, they may put up some fight out of the gate. But eventually they will get wore down and I think the Tops will capitalize on that.
In order to secure the victory, the Tops will have to come to play, and not get comfortable. WKU was able to get the dub against Troy Thursday, but they nearly let the Trojans back into it with only a four point lead within the final two minutes. Of course, I think a little luck might have come late for Troy (especially with all those three’s the hit), but that doesn’t change the fact that they could have easily won it if things went their way with the final few shots. So tonight, yes, I think WKU can win this one quite easily. However, if they do get off their guard just a little bit, then things could get dicey.
Overall the Tops need the same production from their starters. I think the game changer, though, will be bench production, and I have been ecstatic on how effective O’Karo Akamune has been here of late in the absence of Alex Rostov. Akamune has stepped up and helped out George Fant both offensively and defensively and adding the spark that the Hilltopper offense needs. WKU just needs to play their game and this one should go over well…hope I didn’t jinx things!
For the starting five I think it will feature Harrison-Docks, Dickerson, T.J. Price, Adeoye, and Fant. Coach Harper has consistently been putting these five on the floor and I don’t think he will stray away from it tonight.
If the Tops are successful in winning tonight, and Troy loses to Georgia State, the Hilltoppers will have punched their ticket to New Orleans in the Sun Belt’s new format. Not everyone makes it this year, and the Tops are a couple of lucky bounces away from spending Spring Break in NOLA.
Well hopefully the this one will be a good game for the home crowd as both the Troy games were Wednesday and Thursday. Things all get underway at 7 PM. If you can’t make it to the game it will be aired on ESPN3 and WatchESPN as well as regionally in the BG area on WKU-PBS. Hope to see you there though to help cheer on dear old Western! Stand up and cheer folks!