The top-seed of the South Region, Kansas Jayhawks battle the 16th-seed Western Kentucky on Friday night at approx. 7:50 p.m. central time. The game will be shown on TNT.
Kansas enters the game with a 29-5 overall, finishing as the Big 12 conference co-champions for the regular season, and winning the conference tournament. Western Kentucky is 20-15 overall, finishing as the Sun Belt conference tournament champion. The Hilltoppers have won seven of their last eight games, with the only defeat coming to Middle Tennessee State on March 2nd. Of course, Middle Tennessee State earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, losing to St. Mary’s yesterday as part of the first round. The Hilltoppers lost the teams earlier meeting as well. Other big name teams on the schedule include Iowa, VCU, and Louisville. The Hilltoppers fell in all three games.
Western Kentucky is led by guard A.J. Price who averages 15 points, four rebounds and two assists per game. The guard was held to eight points in the Hilltoppers win over Florida International in the championship of the Sun Belt. In that game, the team was led by forward George Fant, who had 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. On the season, Fant is averaging 13 points and seven rebounds per game. Senior guard Jamal Cook leads the team in assists, averaging four per game to go with 12 points and three rebounds.
Kansas will look to continue their late-season hot streak, after winning 10 out of their final 11 games. Freshman Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16 points, and senior center Jeff Withey is just behind at 14 points. Western Kentucky has nobody who can match up with Withey as their tallest active player is Stephon Drane at 6-7, who just averages six minutes per game. Fant is next up at 6-6.
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