Battle of the bombers

Having grown up in the Bluegrass State, Tennessee guard Chris Lofton recognizes the caliber of basketball team Western Kentucky University will be bringing into Thompson-Boling Arena for today's 4 p.m. tip-off.

"They have a great team with some great players," says Lofton, a native of Maysville. "I don't think our players will overlook them. I know I won't."

Today's game features two of the finest outside shooters in all of college basketball – Lofton and the Hilltoppers' Courtney Lee.

Lofton, a 6-2 junior, sports a 20.3 points-per-game average. He is hitting four 3-pointers per game and draining a sizzling 49.3 percent from beyond the arc. He was a preseason All-American.

Lee, a 6-5 junior, sports a 19.1 points-per-game average. He is hitting 53.9 percent from the field and 47.7 percent from beyond the arc. He was the preseason pick for Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Tennessee brings a 7-2 record into the game, while Western Kentucky is 8-2. The Hilltoppers have split two games with Southeastern Conference teams this season – beating Georgia 70-67 and losing 101-68 at Florida. WKU's only other loss was a 75-70 setback to Southern Illinois.

Lee's supporting cast consists of 6-8, 230-pound Daniel Emerson (5.0 points, 3.8 rebounds per game), 6-9, 190-pound Jeremy Evans (5.8 points, 4.2 rebounds), 5-11, 170-pound Tyrone Brazelton (10.7 points, 3.0 assists) and 6-3, 195-pound Ty Rogers (7.7 points per game).

This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

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