Hilltoppers claim No. 2 seed in C-USA Bonus Play

Head coach Rick Stansbury signals to his team during the WKU Hilltoppers’ 91-84 win over the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday, Jan. 25 in Diddle Arena.

Drake Kizer

The WKU men’s basketball team (18-8, 11-3 C-USA) will be the No. 2 seed in the Conference USA Bonus Play scheduling model, the league office announced Sunday.

The Hilltoppers finished in the league’s runner-up position after 14 regularly scheduled games for the second consecutive season, trailing only No. 1 seed North Texas (18-9, 12-2 C-USA). WKU handed the Mean Green one of their only two C-USA losses, claiming a 93-84 win in Diddle Arena on Jan. 2.

WKU’s final four games of the regular season includes two home games and two road games.

Unlike 2019, the Hilltoppers will host their first two games of Bonus Play in the friendly confines of Diddle Arena, welcoming No. 4 seed Charlotte (14-11, 8-6 C-USA) at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22 and No. 3 seed Louisiana Tech (19-7, 10-4 C-USA) at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27.

WKU will end its regular season on the road, travelling to face top-seeded North Texas at 1 p.m. on March 1 and No. 5 seed Florida International (17-10, 8-6 C-USA) at 7 p.m. on March 7.

“Well, again, at least we get a chance to enjoy this week,” head coach Rick Stansbury said on Saturday. “We don’t have to play Wednesday or Thursday. Going to Florida International and going to North Texas, two really difficult places, and the first game against International down there was a tough game for us.”

“But I guess the good thing still is, this team still controls its own destiny,” Stansbury continued.

The Hilltoppers were selected for four of the five CBS-produced games in Bonus Play, likely as a reward for ending the first portion of conference play on a four-game winning streak, including a road sweep at Texas-El Paso (13-14, 4-10 C-USA) and Texas-San Antonio (12-15, 6-8 C-USA) over the weekend.

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, which means WKU can be seeded no lower than No. 5 in the C-USA Tournament.

Season ticket holders will use the tickets labeled Game 14 and 15 for the two remaining home games in Diddle Arena. Season-long parking passes will also be honored and required for the Bonus Play games.

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