WKU reaches peak March Madness after Hilltoppers’ win over Oklahoma State

Graduate student Dwight Coleby steps off the bus in front of Diddle Arena after returning to Bowling Green from Oklahoma March 21. The Hilltoppers beat Oklahoma State University 92-84 which advanced them to the semifinal round of the NIT.

Jeremy Chisenhall

It’s been awhile since WKU basketball has experienced the postseason success that it has had this year, and the campus population is taking notice. 

The Hilltoppers punched their ticket to New York for the NIT semifinal with a 92-84 win over second-seeded Oklahoma State University. Following the win  on Wednesday night, the Hilltoppers headed back to campus. They had a crowd awaiting them when they arrived around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday. 

{{tncms-inline account=”WKU Herald Sports” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hilltopper fans greet the WKU basketball team outside Diddle Arena after the team’s NIT quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State <a href="https://t.co/SY0IB1DIkY">pic.twitter.com/SY0IB1DIkY</a></p>— WKU Herald Sports (@wkuheraldsports) <a href="https://twitter.com/wkuheraldsports/status/976695912264273920?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 22, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/wkuheraldsports/status/976695912264273920″ type=”twitter”}}

While some fans awaited the Hilltoppers outside in the middle of the night, others took to social media to voice support and announce their plans to follow WKU to New York. 

The basketball program shared a post to Facebook following the win which had been seen by nearly 60,000 people just one hour after the buzzer. As of Thursday afternoon, the post had been seen by over 185,500 people and had been shared over 1,860 times. 

Travel plans are quickly being made by WKU students, faculty and alumni to get to Madison Square Garden. Some are even setting work aside to make sure they get there. 

{{tncms-inline account=”Sarah Hopp” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">My advisors priorities are straight <a href="https://twitter.com/WKUBasketball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WKUBasketball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BarstoolWestern?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BarstoolWestern</a> <a href="https://t.co/CQtxdYSMiX">pic.twitter.com/CQtxdYSMiX</a></p>— Sarah Hopp (@hopp_sarah) <a href="https://twitter.com/hopp_sarah/status/976842686685736961?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 22, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/hopp_sarah/status/976842686685736961″ type=”twitter”}}

The Hilltoppers also got some national attention, as ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter, aired video of players showering head coach Rick Stansbury with water in celebration. 

{{tncms-inline account=”#SoldOutDiddle” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dwight Coleby and a Hilltopper water fight featured on SportsCenter 😎 <a href="https://t.co/2Mhlua90nM">pic.twitter.com/2Mhlua90nM</a></p>— #SoldOutDiddle (@WKUBasketball) <a href="https://twitter.com/WKUBasketball/status/976730556716212224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 22, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/WKUBasketball/status/976730556716212224″ type=”twitter”}}

WKU’s last two wins over top-seeded University of Southern California and OSU were broadcast to a national audience on ESPN2. The semifinal matchup against second-seeded University of Utah will air on ESPN. 

WKU has now defeated an opponent from the Big 12, Big 10, ACC and Pac 12 this year. It’s the first time in school history that WKU has defeated a team from four of the Power 5 conferences in the same season. 

WKU squares off with Utah for spot in the NIT championship at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Sports Editor Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.