Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Five Good Questions with Rob Herbst about Western Kentucky Hoops

Today's Five Good Questions is with Rob Herbst of the Bowling Green (Ky) News....Rob covers Western Kentucky Basketball...and right now, the Hilltoppers are one of the hottest teams in the country....I want to thank Rob for his lets find out what is going on with WKU....

Q1. The Hilltoppers are on an 11 game winning streak. What has been the key to this streak?
A. Two things - defense and experience. Having six seniors certainly helps, but WKU has played much tougher defense during its streak. The Hilltoppers were a mess defensively last season and often had to win shootouts to be successful. Although the personnel is largely the same from last season, the Hilltoppers have made drastic improvements defensively recently and have actually won games because of their defense, instead of losing them. WKU has given up more than 70 points against only two Sun Belt teams this year and the Hilltoppers don't exactly play at a slow tempo.

Q2. Who are some of the Western Kentucky players we should get familiar with?
A. Senior guard/forward Courtney Lee is a possible late first-round draft pick. He recently became the school's third 2000-point scorer and has a shot to become the school's all-time leading scorer, depending on how many postseason games WKU plays. He's bounced back this season after dealing with a foot injury last season and is averaging around 21 ppg. Senior point guard Tyrone Brazelton, a JUCO transfer from Chicago has also emerged this season as WKU's second-leading scorer. He's small (generously listed at 6-0), but may be WKU's most important player.

Q3. What are Western Kentucky's strengths?
A. Along with defense, guard play. Lee and Brazelton are difficult for Sun Belt Conference teams to handle and WKU rarely struggles offensively because of them. WKU is also pretty deep, which allows it to play up-tempo.

Q4. What type of coach is Darrin Horn? What can you tell us about him?
A. He's a born-and-bred WKU guy. He played at WKU in the 1990s and played on three NCAA Tournament teams. The Hilltoppers' 1995 team that Horn was a part of was the last WKU team to win an NCAA Tournament game - against Michigan. WKU also went to the Sweet 16 in 1993. After his playing days, he got into coaching and eventually landed as a Tom Crean assistant at Marquette. He was on the staff when Marquette went to the Final Four when he was hired at WKU after Dennis Felton left for Georgia. There was some pressure on Horn going into this season because he was headed into year No. 5 without an NCAA Tournament bid, not good for a basketball school in a basketball state. Whether or not they get the tournament bid, the pressure has probably been lessened some because of the regular-season success.

Q5. In a one-game situation, can Western Kentucky beat the heavyweights such as North Carolina, Duke, or Memphis? What would it take to pull off the upset?
A. WKU played just about even with Tennessee on a neutral court before falling by six in Nashville back in December, so it can hang with top teams and intimidation wouldn't be a factor against other heavyweights. But hanging and beating is a different story. WKU would need to hold its own inside for a chance to win. The Hilltoppers' interior is no strength. WKU starts a true freshman and sophomore in the paint and neither are averaging more than 5 ppg. Teams with quality big men give WKU problems....The Hilltoppers would also need Courtney Lee to be on top of his game because he could carry them in an upset bid. A less-than-stellar Lee would make an upset bid difficult.

Once again I would like to thank Rob for his time...

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