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October 30, 2013

Preseason Favorites

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For the first time since the 2010-11 season, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have been selected as the preseason Sun Belt Conference favorites.

Coming off the heels of a season that saw many trials and tribulations in the injury column, Western Kentucky went 20-16 overall, 10-10 in league play and finished fourth in the east division.

However, the Hilltoppers got healthy at just the right time and tore through the Sun Belt Conference tournament and claimed the postseason crown in stunning fashion, winning four games in four days.

A feat that was nothing new to WKU, having accomplished the same conference tournament war of attrition the previous season.

With increased depth, athleticism, and skill added to the roster during the offseason head coach Ray Harper will field his most complete team since he's been in charge.

"We do have more depth, we've got more interchangeable parts and hopefully we don't have to survive an injury but I think we can survive an injury if we have one with this team," Harper said.

The Hilltoppers received five first place votes with South Alabama and Georgia State receiving two first-place votes and Louisiana-Lafayette receiving one vote.

Juniors T.J. Price and George Fant also got some dap from the voters, Price was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team with Fant being placed on the second team.

Here's how it all shakes out…

Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team
R.J. Hunter (Georgia State, So., Guard)
Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette, So., Forward)
Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., Guard)
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Sr., Forward)
T.J. Price (Western Kentucky, Jr., Guard)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team
Will Neighbour (UALR, Sr., Forward)
Brandon Reed (Arkansas State, Sr., Guard)
Ryan Harrow (Georgia State, r-Jr., Guard)
Joel Wright (Texas State, Sr., Forward)
George Fant (Western Kentucky, Jr., Forward)

Preseason Player of the Year
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Sr., Forward)

Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Western Kentucky 91 (5)
2. South Alabama 78 (2)
3. Arkansas State 74
T-4. Georgia State 73 (2)
T-4. Louisiana-Lafayette 73 (1)
6. Arkansas Little-Rock 48
7. Texas-Arlington 36
8. Texas State 34
9. Troy 26
10. Louisiana-Monroe 17

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