BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU hits the hardwood for the first time in 2012-13 Monday night, hosting Campbellsville (Ky.) in the first of two preseason tune-ups for head coach Ray Harper’s Hilltoppers.
The Hilltoppers return four starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad, and WKU will play two exhibition games this week before opening its 94th season of basketball on November 10 at Southern Miss.
Campbellsville was picked to finish fifth in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, and the Tigers are receiving votes in the NAIA Division I preseason top 25 poll.
The game will be broadcast on the radio on WKLX-FM 100.7 in Bowling Green with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call. A free webcast will be available on WKUSports.com, as will live stats and live audio.
WKU (0-0) vs. Campbellsville (Ky.) (0-0)
October 29, 2012 // 7:00 PM (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. // E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
• WKU is 47-4 all-time in preseason exhibition games, and the Hilltoppers have won 16-straight preseason tune-ups dating back to a 2002-03 loss to the Harlem Globetrotters.
• WKU returns 63.3 percent of its scoring and 59.4 percent of its rebounding in 2012-13, one season after replacing 66.0 percent of its scoring and 64.8 percent of its rebounding from the year before.
• The 15 players on WKU’s 2012-13 roster have combined for 16 letters, one season after the 2011-12 roster combined for eight letters entering the season.
• WKU returns five players who appeared in at least 30 games in 2011-12.
• Excluding graduated senior Kahlil McDonald, WKU returns six of its top seven scorers from 2011-12.
• Returning in 2012-13 from season-ending injuries are Caden Dickerson and Kevin Kaspar, which will strengthen the guard position and give the Hilltoppers multiple three-point threats.
• T.J. Price and Kevin Kaspar combined to hit 73 three-pointers in 2011-12, converting at a 35.8 percent clip from distance.
• In 19 games after Ray Harper took over as head coach in 2011-12, six players averaged at least 7.0 points per game, including four returners (Fant, 11.5; Price, 9.4; Crook, 8.7; Akol, 7.0).
• WKU has advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in eight-straight seasons.
• WKU has won at least one game in each of its last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2012).
• Since 1993 WKU has seven NCAA Tournament wins to its credit, and the rest of the Sun Belt Conference is a combined 0-14.
THE LAST TIME OUT
The Hilltoppers cut a 32-point deficit down to a final margin of 15 in an 81-66 loss to top-seeded Kentucky in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Louisville on March 15. WKU was paced by T.J. Price’s 21 points, and three other Hilltoppers were in double figures. After trailing 45-26 at halftime, WKU outscored the Wildcats in the second half, 40-36. Terrence Jones led all players with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kentucky went on to capture the 2012 National Championship.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 11 of the last 15 games.
• George Fant has led WKU in rebounding in nine of the last 16 games.
• Jamal Crook has had 12 10-plus point scoring games since the start of his junior season after entering that season with just one since arriving at WKU.
• Caden Dickerson has made 46 of his last 55 free throw attempts (.836).
HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS
• WKU has won seven of its last eight games, with the only loss coming to top-ranked and eventual national champion Kentucky in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament last March.
• WKU has come back to win seven of the last nine times it has trailed at halftime, compared to losing 12-straight in that situation before that and 13 of 14 on the season.
• In the last 15 games, WKU is holding opponents to 66.9 points per game and is 10-5 in that stretch.
• WKU has committed 14 or fewer turnovers in 12 of the last 18 games.
• WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 28 of its last 35 losses dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season.
• In 67 games since the start of the 2010-11 season, WKU has trailed at halftime 40 times (11-29 in those games).
• The Hilltoppers have advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament eight-straight times and in 21 instances in 30 years as a member of the league dating to 1983.