Just going final, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated the Florida International Golden Panthers 65-63 to capture their second straight Sun Belt conference title and second straight NCAA Tournament bid.
Just like last season, the Hilltoppers came out of nowhere and won their conference tournament to get back to the NCAA Tournament. To get to this point, the Hilltoppers had to get by the third seed South Alabama Jaguars in the quarterfinals and came out victorious winning 62-59. Then in the semifinals took out the second seed Arkansas State Red Wolves defeating them 58-56.
Western Kentucky finishes the season with a 20-15 record and it’s not really appealing. Expect the Toppers to be a 16th or 15th seed in the NCAA Tournament. During the regular season, Western Kentucky took on quality opponents especially in the month of December. They took Murray State, VCU, and Louisville as expected all those games were losses but they only lost to Murray State by five points.
So even though they lost to quality opponents it was a good teaching lesson to this already tournament tested team.
One thing you have to like about WKU is that they had to win four games in four days to win the Sun Belt conference tournament and they did. It will be interesting to see where the committee places them at as they are going back to the NCAA Tournament.
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