BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU’s quest for its third NCAA Tournament bid in four years begins Saturday night at 6:45 with a first-round matchup against West Division sixth-seed ULM in the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Hot Springs, Ark. The winner of Saturday’s matchup advances to take on West Division second-seed Louisiana-Lafayette at 6:30 on Sunday night.
WKU is 39-21 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and has reached the semifinals in six-straight seasons. The Hilltoppers are trying to become the 18th team in the nation since 1936 to win four games in its conference tournament in four or five days, and as a result earn the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
There is no television for the first two rounds of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. WKU's Saturday night first-round game against ULM will be broadcast on the Big Red Radio Network, airing locally in Bowling Green on WKLX Sam 100.7 FM, with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt calling the action.
The Sun Belt Conference will be webstreaming every game of the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament on its website as a part of "SBC Extra." Fans can purchase a package that includes every game of both the men's and women's conference tournaments for a one-time payment of $11.95, and individual games are available on a game-by-game basis for $4.95 each. For more information on "SBC Extra" for the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament and to purchase, CLICK HERE.
Complete game notes are available at the link at the bottom of the page.
#3E WKU (14-15, 8-8 SBC) vs. #6W ULM (7-23, 2-14 SBC)
2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament - First Round
March 5, 2011 // 6:45 PM (CT)
Convention Center Court (1,500) // Hot Springs, Ark.
• Steffphon Pettigrew is four points away from becoming the 14th Hilltopper to score 1,500 points in his career, and the next WKU victory will be the 90th that Pettigrew has had a hand in over four seasons.
• WKU went 4-3 this season against the five teams on its side of the conference tournament bracket and 4-5 against the six teams on the other side.
• WKU has reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in six-straight seasons.
• WKU has won two Sun Belt Conference championships in the last three seasons.
• With Sergio Kerusch and Steffphon Pettigrew being named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team this season, WKU has now had a first-team member in nine-straight years, dating back to when the conference started having three teams in 2002-03, and the duo gives WKU two first-team players in the same season for the first time since 2005-06 (Courtney Lee, Anthony Winchester).
• WKU has three players ranked in the top 13 in the conference in scoring average this season (Sergio Kerusch, fourth, 15.1 ppg; Steffphon Pettigrew, sixth, 14.4 ppg; Juan Pattillo, 13th, 13.3 ppg).
• Jamal Crook has the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the conference in all games this season (2.0:1) and the fourth-best in conference games only (2.2:1).
• Jamal Crook has had 10 of WKU’s top-12 individual assist total games this season.
• WKU is 11-4 when Jamal Crook has at least four assists and 7-1 when he and Kahlil McDonald combine to dish out at least eight assists.
• Juan Pattillo’s current rebounding average of 9.1 per game stands to be the best single-season average by a Hilltopper since Nigel Dixon pulled down 10.3 rebounds per game in 2003-04.
THE LAST TIME OUT
A late-game surge by Middle Tennessee proved to be too much for WKU to overcome, and the Hilltoppers dropped the season finale to the Blue Raiders, 57-39, Saturday night in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Steffphon Pettigrew led WKU with 15 points, and Kahlil McDonald added nine. Pettigrew also had a team-high eight rebounds. Middle Tennessee was paced by J.T. Sulton’s 18 tallies. The 39 points were the fewest WKU has scored in a game since having 38 against Eastern Kentucky on February 16, 1960.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• Steffphon Pettigrew is averaging 16.5 points per game in the last 10 games.
• Jamal Crook is averaging 5.6 assists and just 2.1 turnovers per game in the last seven contests.
• After going the previous eight games without a three-point field goal, Caden Dickerson is 24-for-49 (.490) from distance in his last 12 contests.
• 43 of Kahlil McDonald’s 55 made field goals this season are three-pointers, and 39 of Caden Dickerson’s 55 converted field goals are from distance.
• Kahlil McDonald is averaging 10.4 points per game in the last seven games.
• Steffphon Pettigrew has contributed at least 10 points in 58.6 percent of his career games (78 of 133).
• Steffphon Pettigrew has scored in double-figures in 54 of his last 66 contests.
• Juan Pattillo has led WKU in blocks in 19 of the team’s 29 games this season.
• Sergio Kerusch has accounted for seven of WKU’s top 12 individual scoring games of the season.
• Steffphon Pettigrew has started 35-straight games and 74 of WKU’s last 75 overall - the only non-start was Senior Day in 2010, when Pettigrew, a junior, came off the bench so senior Nemanja Milosevic could start his final home game.
• Sergio Kerusch has grabbed at least eight rebounds in 23 of his last 39 contests.
HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS
• A Hilltopper has had a double-double in 20 of WKU’s 29 games this season (13-7 in those games).
• WKU is 13-1 in 2010-11 and 56-5 under head coach Ken McDonald when leading a game with 5:00 left to play.
• WKU has been outrebounded in four of the last six games.
• WKU has used nine different starting lineups this season.
• Senior Steffphon Pettigrew is the only Hilltopper to have started each game this season.
• WKU’s three seniors are contributing 61.1% of the team’s scoring this season and 61.6% of its rebounding.
• The Hilltoppers have been outscored by 0.8 points per game this season - the last WKU team to be outscored in a season was the 1999-00 squad (-2.5).
• WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 13 of its 15 losses.
• In its 14 wins this season WKU is holding opponents to 28.2 percent shooting from three-point range, compared to surrendering the three-pointer at a 44.3 percent clip in its 15 losses.
• WKU has trailed at halftime 15 times this season (2-13 in those games).
• WKU has been outrebounded in 10 of its 15 losses this season.
• WKU teams are 0-16 under head coach Ken McDonald when allowing 80 or more points in a game.
• With an average of 3,821 fans per home game in 2010-11, WKU placed second in the Sun Belt Conference in average home attendance for the first time in the last seven seasons (Louisiana-Lafayette, 3,919).
• WKU has had two-straight Sun Belt Conference Preseason Players of the Year (Sergio Kerusch, 2010; A.J. Slaughter, 2009) and the Player of the Year at the end of the season in five of the last 11 seasons.