Western Kentucky Men's Basketball 2015 Postseason Capsule

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Conference USA (20-12, 12-6)


Western Kentucky made a surprisingly positive impact during their first season in Conference USA. After years of dominating the Sun Belt, with the most notable run coming in 2008 with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen, the Hilltoppers proved that they can compete with anybody in their new and ever changing conference.

Big Wins: 12/13 at Mississippi (81-74), 1/10 Old Dominion (72-65), 1/22 UTEP (71-66)
Bad Losses: 11/25 at Stony Brook, 2/7 Rice (68-72), 2/14 at Marshall (82-87)
Coach: Ray Harper

Why They Can Surprise:
Any postseason success Western Kentucky has will come from seniors T.J. Price and George Fant. Price is a big time scorer and a solid shooter from everywhere on the floor. It is a rare occasion when Price fails to reach double figures in the scoring column and it is not uncommon for him to drop 25 or more points on any given day. Decision making is still an issue for Price, but Price is the guy the Hilltoppers want to take clutch shots. That is unless Fant has some open space in the paint. The wide-bodied 6-6, 250 pound forward is a superb scorer in the paint who can create space for himself. He is also one of the strongest rebounders in Conference USA. Fant has been amazingly consistent this season too. After a slow start, Fant has scored in double digits in all but three games since November 25th.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Price and Fant do need help though. The good news is that Coach Ray Harper has plenty of options. Chris Harrison-Docks has been streaky, as shooters often are, but he can explode when his shot is falling. Trency Jackson can knock down shots too and is not opposed to using his 6-2 frame to attack the basket. It is in the frontcourt where the scoring falls off quite significantly. Aleksej Rostov, Justin Johnson and Ben Lawson have all started beside Fant at one point or another during the season. Lawson is the shot blocker of the group, but Johnson may be the one worth watching. The freshman does not look to shoot often, yet does have the ability to score. More importantly, he is a tough rebounder and is just starting to come into his own.

Probable Starters:
T.J. Price, Senior, Guard, 17.1 ppg, 4.0 apg, 5.3 rpg
Chris Harrison-Docks, Sophomore, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 2.5 apg
Trency Jackson, Senior, Guard, 10.4 ppg, 2.7 apg
George Fant, Senior, Forward, 13.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Aleksej Rostov, Junior, Forward, 2.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
DJ Clayton, Freshman, Guard, 4.1 ppg
Justin Johnson, Freshman, Forward, 4.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Ben Lawson, Sophomore, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 bpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.5 (55th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.4 (235, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (154, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.5 (146, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (43, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.7 (73, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.3 (294, 9)
Rebound Margin: 2.2 (107, 4)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (63, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (212, 6)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NCAA    Second Round loss to Kansas
2012    NCAA    First Round win over Mississippi Valley State
2012    NCAA    Second Round loss to Kentucky
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Illinois
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Gonzaga
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Drake
2008    NCAA    Round of 32 win over San Diego
2008    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to UCLA
2006    NIT    First Round loss to South Carolina
2005    NIT    Opening round win over Kent State
2005    NIT    First round loss to Wichita State
2003    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Illinois

*all team stats through 3/8


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