March Madness 2012: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are Dancing in the NCAA Tournament

We’ll be doing NCAA Tournament profiles for all automatic bid conference winners leading up to Selection Sunday, for links to others, see bottom of this post.

Conference: Sun Belt Conference (15-18)

Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky

Famous Alum: Duncan Hines, Pro Golfer Kenny Perry, and filmmaker John Carpenter also attended, but transferred. 

They’re Back! Western Kentucky has made 21 appearances, and won in consecutive years in 2008 and 2009, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2008.

Resume: They were 9-18 two weeks ago, then knocked off league leaguer Middle Tennessee, before winning four straight games to win the conference title improbably. Ken Pomeroy gave them a 1.1% chance of winning before the tournament.

Of course, they fired their head coach immediately after this game, where they lost because the opponent had six men on the court.

Notable Player(s): The Hilltoppers start three freshmen in Derrick Gordon, George Fant, and T.J. Price.

Team Style/Strengths: They are one of the most undersized teams in the tournament. They do have two players over 6’7″ but neither plays 40% of the minutes for the Hilltoppers. As a result, they will try to create pressure and turnovers and speed teams up in the tournament.

All-Important Rankings: 195 (RPI), 197 (Pomeroy)

Projected Outlook/Seed: Western Kentucky might as well make hotel reservations for Dayton, because they will be playing in a first round game as a #16 seed.

[photo via US Presswire]

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