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The Panthers’ 13-win increase from a season ago is the best year-to-year improvement in the country. They are the only team in the NCAA Tournament that finished last in its league a year ago.
Indiana State transfer Steve McWhorter gives the Panthers a little bit of everything. He plays a team-high 34 minutes a game, his 135 assists are more than double anyone else on the team, and he also leads the team with 51 steals.
Senior Kyle Kelm has increased his scoring average from 5.1 per game as a junior to 12.6 this season. He’s also hitting 52 percent of his shots after shooting just 41 percent from the field in 2012-13. Thursday’s game will be his 125th, which will tie the school’s all-time Division I record.
Junior forward Matt Tiby is a transfer from junior college who is averaging 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
The Panthers are resilient. They have overcome a double-digit deficit to win five times this season, including four times on the road and three times when that double-digit deficit has been in the second half.