Friday, January 31, 2020

Tops Update

Here are the latest standings in Conference USA, with Ken Pom rankings and conference records:

63.  N. Texas:  8-1

55.  Louisiana Tech:  7-2
112.  W. Kentucky:  7-2

143. Charlotte:  6-3

167.  Old Dominion:  5-4
177.  Florida Int'l:  5-4
193.  Florida Atl:  5-4

149.  Marshall:  4-5
153.  UTEP:  4-5
194.  UAB:  4-5
199.  Tex-San Antonio:  4-5

269.  So. Mississippi:  2-7

244.  Rice:  1-8
298.  Mid. Tenn. St.:  1-8

So it looks as though Western will enter the C-USA Tournament with a puncher's chance.  Here's how Coach Rick Stansbury has done so far in Bowling Green:

In 2017, the Toppers were in a rebuilding mode, and went 15-17.  K-Pom had them ranked number 232 in the country -- the worst team for Western at least since K-Pom's records began in 1997.

In 2018, Western went to the C-USA Conference Final, where they were beaten 67-66 by Marshall.  Western then went to the semi-finals of the NIT where they lost to Utah.  Final record of 27-11.  Final K-Pom ranking of 47, the best for Western since the 2008 Sweet 16 team.

In 2019, Western went to the C-USA Conference Final again.  This time they were beaten by Old Dominion 62-56.  Final record of 20-14.  Final K-Pom ranking of 116.

Now they are 14-7 with a ranking of 112.

So Stansbury has done a good job of stablizing the program, adjusting to the competition in the C-USA, and putting Western in a position to compete for titles.  He also brought back the traditional uniforms, which is a huge deal for me.  But he hasn't yet made the NCAA Tournament, which is critical for a team of Western's pedigree.


  1. The Tops lost their stud center, Charles Bassey, very early this season, and now they've redefined themselves as a plucky, small team with a 6-foot-5 guy at center. Until losing a big lead at Florida Atlantic most recently, they had won several in a row and were starting to get "Little Engine That Could" buzz around here.

    I don't know. Bassey is a great talent, but WKU never seemed to make the most of the asset last season when he was playing. It feels like almost exactly as good a team without him this season as it was last season with him. That statement is certainly not intended as a knock on Bassey, so I guess it's a pretty clear knock on Coach Stansbury.

    We'll see. I'm rooting for him and them.

  2. I accidentally watched the first bit of the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma game today as I was stretching out to take a nap. With one team leading the other 5-2 with about two minutes gone in the first half, the officials stopped play to go to the sidelines and review footage as to whether an offensive foul should be reversed and called instead against the defense. I'm pretty sure they reversed the call, but, by the time they were done watching monitors and talking with one another, I was almost out.