WKU Men’s Basketball: Tops unveil 2018-2019 Conference USA schedule

Home games against four of the top six finishers in Conference USA last season and a home-and-home series with defending league champion Marshall highlight the league play portion of the 2018-19 WKU Hilltopper Basketball schedule, as announced Monday by WKU.

Playing under a new scheduling model from C-USA, the Hilltoppers will face their travel partner Marshall twice and each other team in the league once over the first 14 games of the conference regular season, including home games against Middle Tennessee, UAB and UTSA. The final four games of the regular season will be determined later by a new seeding model.

WKU opens its 18-game conference slate with three road contests at Charlotte (Jan. 3), Old Dominion (Jan. 5) and Marshall (Jan. 12) – the first of at least two regular-season meetings with the Thundering Herd. WKU defeated Marshall twice in last year’s regular season before falling 67-66 to the Herd in the 2018 C-USA Tournament championship game.

The Hilltoppers are then back in E.A. Diddle Arena for three home games, starting Jan. 17 against FIU. They also host Florida Atlantic on Jan. 19 and Marshall on Jan. 21. Each team in the league is scheduled to play on Monday, Jan. 21, which is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

WKU returns to the road for games at Southern Miss (Jan. 24) and LA Tech (Jan. 26), then hosts UTSA and UTEP on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, respectively.

Following trips to Rice (Feb. 7) and North Texas (Feb. 9), the Hilltoppers wrap up their known opponents with home games against Middle Tennessee (Feb. 14) and UAB (Feb. 16).

The opponent, date and location of WKU’s final four games of the regular season are yet to be determined under the new scheduling model from C-USA this year.

Within the format, the 14 programs will play each other once and their travel partner twice in the first seven weeks of the conference season. At the conclusion of the seven weeks, teams will be placed in one of three groups based on conference standings through the first 14 games of league action. The teams will be divided into two groups of five (1-5 and 6-10) and a group of four (11-14). During the final three weeks, teams will play within their respective grouping for the last four games of conference play. Home and away games within the groups will be determined by a preset formula.

Once all 18 games have been completed, the top 12 teams based on final league standings will be seeded in the conference tournament. Teams will be guaranteed seeding within their respective group. For example, if a program lands in the second group (6-10), it will seed no higher than six and no lower than 10 in the tournament field.

The 2019 C-USA Basketball Championships will take place March 13-16 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.