T.J. Price returns home as Hilltoppers face Bulldogs


I’ve been waiting for this matchup for quite some time. The Hilltoppers, still undefeated in conference play, take to the home state of T.J. Price to face one of, if not the, Conference USA favorites heading into the season in Louisiana Tech. This is gonna be fun.

What I’m looking most forward to tonight, specifically, is the matchup of T.J. and Louisiana Tech’s Alex Hamilton, who are both the sparkplugs for their respective teams. For the Dawgs, Hamilton is averaging 16.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists. For the Hilltoppers, Price is leading the way with 17.1 points, 5.7 boards and 3.6 assists.

But, make no mistake about it, neither of these are one-man shows. As we all know, George Fant is the yin to Prices’ yang, as he rolls into tonight with eight straight double doubles, but isn’t averaging one yet, sitting at 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. Still effective, of course, and is playing some of the best basketball of his career, something WKU fans – especially Bowling Green WKU fans, have been waiting for ever since he first suited up in a Tops uni.

Hamilton’s partner in crime puts up nearly identical numbers, which makes the tandem of him and Raheem Appleby even that much more scarier. Appleby is averaging 16.7 points – the exact same as Hamilton – 2.2 boards and 1.7 assists. The Hilltoppers will have their hands full with just the two starters in the Tech backcourt, making the Techsters super duper scary. Yes, I said super duper, deal with it.

When you stack up team stats (in conference play), you can see how close and how good these two teams really are. The Tops are first in points per game (76.3), the Dawgs are second (71.1). The Dawgs are first in the conference in assists (99) the Tops are second (97). You get the point.

The one major discrepancy between the two teams that the Hilltoppers have to take advantage of is rebounding. WKU leads C-USA in total rebounds with 280 while Louisiana Tech is 11th with 217. In the games that the Tops have “struggled,” (have allowed teams to play close), the key reason is not winning the rebound margin.

Also, the Tops can’t afford to get down early, often or big if they have any chance to escape Ruston undefeated. I can’t wait for this game, and I hope you can’t either. CBS Sports Network will have the video, and things get going six.

Next: Do the Tops Deserve to be in the Top 25?