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GAME THREAD: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

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GAME THREAD: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM




What: Western Kentucky (6-14, 2-5) vs FAU (8-12, 4-3)

When: Thursday, Jan. 26th @ 7:00 PM EST

Where: FAU Arena

TV: Fox College Sports/DirecTV 617

Live Video: None

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: Here

Hilltoppers Team Site: Here


Probable Starters:


WKU

G Jamal Crook 8.3 ppg
G Derrick Gordan 12.0 ppg
G Kahlil McDonald 6.9 ppg
F Nigel Snipes 4.9 ppg
F Teeng Akol 4.8 ppg


FAU

G Alex Tucker 4.2 ppg
G Shavar Richardson 4.8 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.7 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 2.7 ppg
F Kore White 8.0 ppg


The series:

Western Kentucky leads all-time 9-2:

12/30/06 H L 83-93
02/14/07 A W 78-73
03/04/07 N L 81-86
01/16/08 A L 62-80
03/01/08 H L 78-88
01/10/09 H L 57-68
02/26/09 A L 67-87
01/14/10 A L 72-79
02/25/10 H L 69-78 (OT)
01/15/11 A W 78-73
01/29/11 H L 53-57

Last time on the floor, the Hilltoppers snapped FAU's program record setting eight game Sun Belt win streak with 57-53 victory in Boca Raton. The Owls battled back from a 12 point deficit at the break (33-21) to pull within just a point with 2:47 remaining, but would get no closer as the Hilltoppers connected for an easy slam and 6-of-7 at the charity stripe to close the contest.


WKU at a Glance:

The Toppers current RPI of 275 truly shows how far this team has digressed. It wasn't so long ago that WKU was dancing. But a downward spiral has occured the last three seasons, promoting the firing of former head man Ken McDonald (67-48, 37-19) 16 games into the 2011-12 slate.

Offense is where they currently struggle, with a 38.3% showing from the floor being a far cry from last year's 43.6%, and 2009-10's 45.4% as well. Having scored 60 or fewer points seven times this year, they've already beat 2011-12's tally in that regard for the entire season (6).

The guard trio of Jamal Crook, Derrick Gordan, and Kahlil McDonald are fairly decent sized group at 6-3 each, and account for the nucleus of the Hilltopper roster. Gordon is one of two Sun Belt Conference freshmen to be averaging at least 12.0 points per game so far.

In the front court it's a different story with only Nigel Snips (6-5, 205), and Teeng Akol (6-11, 217) to seriously account for. Seemingly a feather in the wind at times, Akol hasn't done much to live up to his initial hype of earning offers from Indiana and Kentucky. Prior to joining the team, he was a member of the Oklahoma State roster where he posted 2 points and 2 rebounds in 18 minutes of total action. He's doing a little better now with 4.8 ppg and 3.1 rpg for WKU, but the bottom line is that Western Kentucky is strapped for bulk, and has no productive front court to speak of. Through 20 games, they have seen just one double-digit rebound effort, compared to 17 through 20 games last season.

Most recently, a five game slide came to an end with a 65-53 win over Arkansas-Little Rock. Trailing by five with just under 7:00 to play, the Toppers went on 13-0 and 8-2 runs to secure the victory. Gordon and Crook led WKU with 13 points each.

Western Kentucky has lost 10 of its last 12 games away from Diddle Arena, and were tabbed 3rd in the league's preseason poll while placing no representatives on the preseason teams.


FAU at a Glance:

Picking up where we left off in the last preview, let's look at bit more at the long ball - the main threat that Florida Atlantic has to offer presently.

In the "Round of 92" thus far for 2011-12, Greg Gantt, Omari Grier, and Ray Taylor have all taken as many attempts from downtown. While decent, results are mixed, with Grier enjoying a comfortable advantage in margin of proficiency at 43.5%, followed by Gantt's 40.2%, and Taylor's 33.7% respectively.

But the next in line is a bit of a head scratcher in Shavar Richardson (9-of-47, 19.1%). Richardson recently returned to the starting line-up and has seen more minutes after being in a limited for most of the season. However, the senior guard is not shooting near what he had the last three seasons: 33.7% (28-of-83) 2010-11, 36.8% (46-of-125) 2009-10, and 35.6% 2008-09 (57-of-160).

If he keeps getting the nod, he's going to need to change things up a bit to be productive.

"He's playing a lot of minutes lately, so the minutes have nothing to do with it", said coach Mike Jarvis. "What he's doing now that he hasn't done on a consistent basis before is using his legs to play defense, and that's taking away from the three."

"Right now he shouldn't even be shooting threes, he should just be shooting twos."

Moving into historical notes, fellow senior Alex Tucker is edging his way towards the all-time career assist milestone for Florida Atlantic. With 487 dishes donning and Owls' jersey and counting, he needs just 19 more to surpass the current mark of 505 held by former point Ernest Crumbley (2000-04).

Greg Gantt's 180 treys is also closing in on the 2nd all-time career three-pointers mile-marker of 187 makes, notched by Jeff Cowans (2000-04).

Speaking of Gantt, FAU is 6-1 this season when he accounts for 19 points or better. Heading into Thursday's tilt, the junior is averaging just below that mark with 18 ppg against WKU in his four appearances versus the eastern division foe. He will be recognized in a brief pre-game ceremony for hitting the 1,000 career point mark.

The Owls are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play at FAU Arena. They will be seeing a lot of action there from here out, with six games in Boca Raton and just three remaining elsewhere.

Thursday's game is being promoted as a "White Out" in attire, and will be televised on Fox College Sports.


Latest Line:

FAU -11


Owl's Nest Prediction

Coach Jarvis' desire to compete with Western Kentucky on a regular basis appears to be coming to pass in a way that he himself probably couldn't have imagined - favored by double digits.

"They have a little bit of a down turn. How long it will take for them to come back, I'm not going to guess. They're going to compete, that's for sure." Jarvis said.

Rome fell in a day. And while it has taken a bit longer for Western Kentucky, the result is the same: Superpower status has been removed. For now, that is.

FAU -7
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

Speaking of White Outs, is Kore White out?  ;D

FAU Class of '87
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

BeastOwl said

Speaking of White Outs, is Kore White out?  ;D

That's great.

If he doesn't want to play his position, I sure hope so.

GO OWLS!
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

FAU wins this one by 18

It's Owl Time!
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

PowerOwl said

FAU wins this one by 18

I think it will be a close game. We'll get down early and then if we win it'll be by 5 or 7, especially off points in the last two minutes.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

I think crowd will be a factor. Are They expecting a big crowd for tonight? Come on students, show up and make noise! You guys rocked it earlier in the year and were awesome last year. Keep it up, the team needs your support.

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

Jab979 said

I think crowd will be a factor. Are They expecting a big crowd for tonight? Come on students, show up and make noise! You guys rocked it earlier in the year and were awesome last year. Keep it up, the team needs your support.

Town side nothing special per Jarvis. No Boca Hoops or SRCC in action…student side shoudl be rocking nicely though!
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

I've got 2 baseline tickets up for grabs as my wife and kids cannot go to the game. I hate to let them go to waste.  Oh, and they're  FREE!  PM me if interested.

FAU Class of '87
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

BeastOwl said

I've got 2 baseline tickets up for grabs as my wife and kids cannot go to the game. I hate to let them go to waste.   Oh, and they're  FREE!  PM me if interested.

:o :o :o
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Re: Game Preview: Western Kentucky vs FAU - 01/26/12 @ 7:00PM

Rick said

Jab979 said

I think crowd will be a factor. Are They expecting a big crowd for tonight? Come on students, show up and make noise! You guys rocked it earlier in the year and were awesome last year. Keep it up, the team needs your support.

Town side nothing special per Jarvis. No Boca Hoops or SRCC in action…student side shoudl be rocking nicely though!

Does that mean that the GA won't be "sold out" so I don't have to pay double the price? I was pissed last game because they said it was sold out and it wasn't half full. I love FAU but forcing me to pay more when it clearly was not sold out was lame.
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