C-USA Tournament brackets reveal path to NCAA Tournament bid for Hilltoppers, Lady Toppers

2020 C-USA Tournament

Drake Kizer

The 2019-20 regular season has come to an end for the WKU men’s and women’s basketball teams, which means it’s time for the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers to head west for the Conference USA Tournament, scheduled for March 11-14 in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

Both programs have earned a first-round bye in their respective brackets, meaning neither of WKU’s basketball teams will play until the quarterfinals on Thursday. Until then, both the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers will be forced to watch and wait for their first postseason opponents.

While some league schools will need to win four games in four days to claim an automatic-qualifier spot in the NCAA Tournament, both teams from the Hill will only need to win three games in three days, which still won’t be easy due to the parity on both sides of the aisle in C-USA this year.

Learn about each program’s C-USA Tournament seeding, how WKU has fared against the schools it could face in the training facility of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and much more below:

Hilltoppers earn No. 2 seed; will face UAB or UTSA in quarterfinals

The Hilltoppers (20-10, 13-5 C-USA) will open play against either seventh-seeded Alabama-Birmingham (18-13, 9-9 C-USA) or tenth-seeded Texas-San Antonio (13-18, 7-11 C-USA) on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

WKU finished in a tie for second place in the league standings with Louisiana Tech (22-8, 13-5 C-USA), but the Hilltoppers held the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating the Bulldogs in Diddle Arena twice during the regular season — 65-54 on Feb. 6 and 95-91 in overtime on Feb. 27.

WKU’s quarterfinal matchup on Court A will air on Stadium and locally on WKU PBS. If head coach Rick Stansbury’s squad advances, WKU will play on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the semifinals on CBS Sports Network. The league championship game is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

The Hilltoppers closed the regular season by winning six of their last eight games, including a 91-85 win at Florida International in the regular season finale on March 7.

UAB defeated WKU in the only meeting between the two teams this year, claiming a 72-62 win in Birmingham, Alabama, on Jan. 9. The Hilltoppers were victorious in their lone matchup with UTSA this season, stealing a 77-73 overtime win in San Antonio on Feb. 15.

WKU has advanced to at least the semifinals of its league tournament in 13 of the last 15 seasons. The program is 25-8 with four championships in the last 12 conference tournaments overall.

The Hilltoppers have reached the C-USA championship game in each of the last two years, falling to Old Dominion in 2019 and losing a heartbreaker to Marshall in 2018.

Lady Toppers earn No. 3 seed; will face Charlotte or North Texas in quarterfinals

The Lady Toppers (22-7, 14-4 C-USA) will open play against either sixth-seeded Charlotte (20-9, 11-7 C-USA) or eleventh-seeded North Texas (12-18, 6-12 C-USA) on Thursday at 2 p.m.

WKU finished in a tie for second place in the league standings with ODU (24-6, 14-4 C-USA), but the Monarchs held the head-to-head tiebreaker after a 76-65 win in Norfolk, Virginia, on Jan. 16.

WKU’s quarterfinal matchup on Court B will be streamed live for ESPN+ subscribers. If head coach Greg Collins’ squad advances, the Lady Toppers will play on Friday at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals on Stadium. The league championship game is slated for Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

The Lady Toppers finished off the regular season by winning two straight games and 14 of their last 16, including a 71-67 win against LA Tech on March 7.

North Texas defeated WKU in the only meeting between the two squads this year, claiming a 61-54 win in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 2. WKU has met Charlotte twice this season, picking up a 60-56 win in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 18 and a 71-60 home win on March 5.

The Lady Toppers have advanced to the semifinals in all but one season since joining C-USA and have won the tournament three times in only six years.

WKU claimed the 2017 and 2018 C-USA Tournament crowns, but the Lady Toppers stumbled against eventual 2019 champion Rice in the semifinals a season ago.

How do I purchase tickets for the C-USA Tournament?

All-session booklets for this year’s conference tournament are on sale now through the WKU Ticket Office and at WKUTickets.com. Purchases made through the WKU Ticket Office directly support WKU Athletics, according to a release.

All-session booklets cover all games for both WKU Hilltopper and Lady Topper basketball in addition to all other tournament games.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at [email protected] Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.