Well, school has officially started here at Western. That means the alarm going off too early, exams, quizzes, assignments, and whatever else comes with school.
But let’s review the weekend that was. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams took rough tumbles at Denver. Luckily, because Arkansas-Little Rock and Middle Tennessee State both lost, the Toppers will survive the weekend and remain in first place.
Western has two games remaining in January, at Arkansas State on Thursday and then hosting North Texas on Saturday. The Toppers should win Thursday, but it may not be by much, and they should hold serve again on Saturday at Diddle. If they win both this weekend, it means they will finish 8-3 in the month of January.
And as we enter February, here’s three questions for the Toppers:
1. With four games remaining on the road, including stops at UALR and MTSU, can Western pick up pivotal road wins and hold their place in the standings?
2. When will the big men awake? Junior forward Jeremy Evans could use some support inside as Topper fans patiently wait for the likes of D.J. Magley, Japeth Aguilar and Matt Maresca to increase their productivity.
3. Is sophomore forward Steffphon Pettigrew Western’s most valuable player? He’s currently second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game and ranks third in rebounding averaging 4.9 boards per game.
Player to watch in February: Steffphon Pettigrew. The Elizabethtown product has turned it up in Sun Belt Conference play. Through nine games, he’s averaging 15.7 points per game, good for ninth-best in the conference. If he can continue his production in addition to what A.J. Slaughter, Orlando Mendez-Valdez and Sergio Kerusch can bring to the table, Western could present a potent four-headed monster down the stretch.
Game(s) to watch: This one is tricky. With this current squad, every game is one to watch because you never quite know what to expect.