I. Western KY Pulls Away Late Past UL-Lafayette, 80-72
ULL star guard Dennis Mitchell had his entire leg wrapped to protect an ailing hamstring. WKU star swingman Courtney Lee again had a heavily bandaged left hand that clearly limited his activity. Both men came out and did whatever they could to give their team a chance to reach the Sun Belt final against South Alabama. Truly, neither player ever really got it going as Lee had a horrid shooting night (3-14) and Mitchell never hit the floor after halftime. The other big guns for each team responded in HUGE ways for their clubs. ULL center Michael Southall scored 30 points in 39 minutes while WKU guard Anthony Winchester did his best Human Torch impression by combusting for 33 points on 10-15 shooting. Most of those buckets were 14-17 footers that came by expertly curling off of fellow Topper screens. AW also went 11-13 from the line, and the two misses came with just just seconds left when the game was out of reach for the Cajuns.
The key to the game was limiting Southall's effectiveness on the glass. Southall grabbed just seven boards, only one of them offensive. In fact, the Cajuns shot a healthy 53% from the floor to WKU's 46%, but WKU controlled the glass (34-26 overall, 13-5 O-rebs) and got up 11 more field goal attempts. The Toppers also shot a blistering 81% from the line to keep the Cajuns at bay down the stretch. WKU will face South Alabama at 8:30 PM CT tonight on ESPN2 for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. These two clearly have been the best teams in the league all season. It should be a dandy in Murfreesboro tonight. I will have a full report tomorrow.
II. The One Stop Shop has been updated through last night's game. Also, I have all of this week's brackets set and ready to go. I also added an "AUTO" page at the end to track all of the automatic bids. Thanks to Ken Pomeroy for directing his readers to the One Stop Shop yesterday. It quintupled my average daily readership yesterday! Behold! The Power of Pomeroy!
Thanks to those who have emailed with corrections. Let me know if you catch others.
III. Today/Tonight's GOI
--Western Kentucky vs South Alabama (Sun Belt). These two teams have been the best in the league all season. A deserving champion and NCAA rep will be crowned.
--UW-Milwaukee vs Butler (Horizon). Ditto.
--Oral Roberts vs Chicago State (Mid-Con). ORU tries to fend off the upstart 6-seed.
--Colorado State vs TCU (Mt West). The winner of this 8/9 game gets San Diego St.
--Big Sky semifinals