Belmont at Western Kentucky, 8:00 PM Eastern, Hilltopper Sports/Fox College Sports
When playing in a mid-major conference, a team’s margin for error is so small if they want to even be considered for an at-large bid to the Big Dance. Tonight’s Under the Radar Game of the Day features a pair of teams that are right on the edge of losing any hopes of getting such a bid, despite being two of the top Under the Radar teams in the entire nation. The Ohio Valley Conference’s Belmont Bruins will be on the road taking on Conference USA’ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in an 8 PM Eastern tip-off.
Belmont enters today’s game at 7-5 overall. The Bruins started the year 4-1, including a home win over Vanderbilt and a road win at Middle Tennessee. They then fell by one point, 66-65, at Providence to start a stretch where they lost four of five games, including getting swept in their annual rivalry “Battle of the Boulevard” games by Lipscomb. Although Belmont has now won two straight, with tonight being their final non-conference game, they are probably in position where anything short of winning out the rest of the season will keep them off the at-large consideration board. Keep an eye on Amanze Egekeze this evening — he had 32 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Milwaukee last week.
Head coach Rick Stansbury’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are currently 7-4 on the year including their two huge wins over Purdue and SMU in the Battle for Atlantis. Last week was not as successful for this team though, as they suffered a five point road upset at Ohio and let a game slip away at Wisconsin by one point. WKU will have a chance for a few more quality opponents in Conference USA play, but tonight and Friday’s game at Austin Peay are their final two non-conference contests this season. The WKU attack is very balanced, as they have had five or more players in double figures in scoring 7 times already this season.