Previewing The WKU Hilltoppers

Oklahoma State won their 2nd round NIT game last night, over Stanford, and advanced to the Elite Eight. After the game, OSU awaited their fate as to their opponent and location for their next game.

Western Kentucky upset the USC Trojans, in Los Angeles, to advance to the NIT Elite Eight. Being seeded lower than Oklahoma State, forces them to travel to Stillwater from Southern California for a game tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Western Kentucky will be facing a long travel day, or an early morning, and little to no preparation when they face the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Take a look at The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky.

LOCATION – Bowling Green, Kentucky

COLORS – Red and White

ENROLLMENT – 20,277

NICKNAME – Hilltoppers

OSU CONNECTION – Current play-by-play voice of the Cowboys, Dave Hunziker, said in a podcast that he spent “54 weeks” as the voice of the Hilltoppers after a stint at Radford. He took the OSU job after his time in Bowling Green.

CLASSIFICATIONS ON THE TEAM

FRESHMEN – 4

SOPHOMORES – 1

JUNIORS – 3

SENIORS – 1

GRAD STUDENTS – 2

HEAD COACH – RICK STANSBURY

Coach Stansbury, Campbellsville alumnus, is in his 2nd season guiding the Hilltoppers. He was hired on March 28, 2016. He has 308 wins and 11 postseason appearances as a coach to his name.

Stansbury spent two years in College Station under head Coach, Billy Kennedy.

Stansbury made a name for himself at Mississippi State where he spent 22 years, 14 of which as the head coach.

Western Kentucky, 26-10 (14-4) should not be overlooked. Much like OSU, WKU has thier fair-share of signature wins, bad losses, and “good” losses.

Some signature wins …

WKU 77 Purdue 73 (Game played in Bahamas) … Purdue spent much of this season in the top ten and is currently doing well in the NCAA Tournament.

WKU 79 USC 75 (Game played in Los Angeles) … Many people believe that USC deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament, much like Oklahoma State. USC, under the direction of Andy Enfield, have seen a basketball resurgence in Southern California.

Some bad losses …

WKU 73 UAB 101 (Game played in Birmingham) … The Hilltoppers must not have got off the bus for this one as UAB throttled WKU. The score speaks for itself.

WKU 63 UTSA 74 (Game played in San Antonio) … I didn’t even know UTSA had a basketball team.

WKU 80 Missouri State 85 (Game played in Bowling Green) … An early season game vs. Missouri State should have been an easy win for WKU.

A “good” loss …

WKU 58 Villanova 66 (Game played in Bahamas) … Villanova was ranked in the top-five at the time, and are a true threat to win the National Championship

OSU/WKU common opponents …

WKU 93 Charlotte 55 … OSU 83 Charlotte 65

WKU 72 Austin Peay 55 … OSU 79 Austin Peay 63

Forward, Justin Johnson leads the way for the Hilltoppers, with 36 games played and started … .517 FG% … 44/103 from three … .570 FT% …. 15.6 PPG … 80 offensive rebounds and 263 (!!!) defensive rebounds …

KEYS TO THE GAME

For Oklahoma State …

Attack the defensive glass or Justin Johnson will. Clearly.

Keep WKU honest from three.

Stay out of foul trouble. WKU shoots nearly 50% from the charity stripe.

In other words, Mitchell Solomon will be huge for Oklahoma State. Whether that is good or bad, we’ll have to wait and see.

For Western Kentucky …

Play zone. Stanford clearly jaded the Cowboys with that zone, forcing them to take long three balls. The international three point line doesn’t help OSU’s cause. Not that OSU is “bad” from three, but they certainly aren’t lights out from the arc.

Get Solomon into foul trouble. The secret’s out. Oklahoma State does not play well when Solomon is on the bench. Stanford made their biggest runs last night when Solomon looked on from the sideline.

MY TWO CENTS

Cowboy fans,

Do not be fooled by the name on the front of the jersey of the opponent. Just take a look at their resume. They are going to show up and give Oklahoma State a run for their money. Tomorrow night’s game is going to be stellar, and Gallagher-Iba will be breathing fire.

Oh, and about showing up … yeah, do that. Everyone knows that the NCAA snubbed  Oklahoma State from the NCAA Tournament. Show the Cowboys the love they deserve and pack out the old barn. Show the NCAA selection committee what they missed out on.  A stellar team with an energetic fan base.

The Cowboys are just one win away from going to the Final Four of the NIT. The final four will be played in Mike Boynton’s stomping grounds, the Madison Square Garden, in the Big Apple.

Getting there will be no easy task, but you can make it that much easier for OSU if you get your butt in a seat. And, if that’s not motivation enough, take a look at this.

Also, look at the plethora of likes on their tweet. What a hit.

Stay tuned to Bedlam Brother for coverage of the NIT and all Oklahoma State sports.

Also – we are keeping our eye on this “big announcement.” *eyeball emojis*

Photo via The Courier Journal

Follow Brodie Myers on Twitter @MyersVoice

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