The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (20-15) sprinted out to an 8-2 start in 2012-13. But then a rash of injuries hit and they finished 10-10 in conference play (Sun Belt). The Hilltoppers, with their players now fully recovered, earned a second straight NCAA tournament invite with a two-point win over Florida International in the Sun Belt's cut-down-the-nets game. Did the Hilltoppers learn enough from last season -- when they won a First Four game before being devoured by eventual national champ Kentucky -- to shock the world this March?
ESPN Insider has your answers, as Joe Lunardi has enlisted a team of Bracketologists to compile advanced metrics, key scouting intel and best- and worst-case tournament scenarios for all 68 teams, in order to help you make smart picks in your bracket. Plus, as Lunardi fills out his bracket, he'll give you his prediction on how each team will fare.
This time around, the Hilltoppers have avoided a stop in Dayton on their way to the second round. And this is a better Western Kentucky team that could have been a No. 15 seed. Will that make a difference against top-seed Kansas in the South Region? Probably not, but you have to give WKU credit for back-to-back Sun Belt titles.
Best wins: DePaul, Southern Illinois, Florida International in Sun Belt title game
Worst losses: Florida Atlantic, Arkansas-Little Rock