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January 2, 2013Follow @ShaneWKURivals
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When WKU takes the court in Little Rock, AR on Thursday, it will have been 2 weeks since the Tops last played a true road game. I am not counting the UofL game in Nashville as it was a bi-partisan crown and not indicative of a true road environment. The last time WKU faced a true road test they fell to a very talented VCU squad on December 18th by a score of 76-44.
On the positive side WKU is coming off two wins at home against fellow conference members FIU (76-63) and North Texas (70-64). The Tops have now extended their home winning streak to 12 games. WKU has also started conference play 4-0 for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. With the majority of those wins coming with a severely depleted roster that was/is riddled with injuries.
WKU first turns their attention this week to UALR in a Thursday night tip-off at 7:30pm. The Trojans are a team that come into Thursday's game with a 8-7 overall record, while going 2-2 in Sun Belt conference play. UALR is 2-0 at home in conference games. Taking games from Troy (58-56) and an awful ULM team (83-58). The Trojans as a team are averaging 67.9 ppg on the season led by 6'10" PF Will Neighbor who is sporting 11.5 ppg to go along with 6.8 reb. This will be another game where the Tops will need their bigs to step up down low on the block. UALR seems to be the most efficient on both offense and defense in the paint. If WKU can continue their hot shooting from Saturday night by knocking down the open 3 point shots and being efficient at the free-throw line then I could see WKU winning this game in convincing fashion. UALR is not a bad team. However, they are not a great team either.
WKU @ Arkansas-Little Rock Prediction:
Tops pull away late to get the W 74-62.
After enjoying all the thrills of "little-big city life" in Little Rock. The Tops will make the trek up the road to Jonesboro to battle Arkansas St on Saturday at 7:05pm. The Red Wolves come into the game with an identical 10-5 record as WKU. Although, their schedule has been significantly weaker. Arkansas State also enters the contest with a 2-2 conference record. Losing their first two conference games on the road to the F_U twins. They were dismantled in their meeting with the FIU Golden Panthers (80-61). A team the Hilltoppers took out rather easily at home Thursday night (76-63). The Red Wolves come into Saturday's match up averaging 70.8 ppg as a team led by guard Ed Townsel who is averaging 16.2 ppg. ASU is a team that has played better the last 2 games. Ragin' on the Cajuns of ULL (87-70) and taking out the Jaguars of South Al (63-54).
WKU @ Arkansas State Prediction:
WKU continues their winning ways under Harper and pulls out a close one 71-67.
All games can be seen locally on WKYU-PBS HSSN. Nationally games will be broadcast on ESPN Full Court or ESPN3.com
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