Road games key in battle for conference for Hilltoppers

Jonah Phillips

Jonah Phillips

The men’s basketball team is tied for first place in the Conference USA with Louisiana Tech at 8-1, and their 15 wins overall are third most in the conference, behind the aforementioned and Old Dominion, both of whom have 17. 

But where the team has struggled the most this season holds the key to their destiny in their inaugural conference campaign. 

Five of the Hilltopper’s last nine games are on the road, where they have managed just a 4-4 (3-1 C-USA) record, this season.  

Of those five games, three of them feature teams in the top half of the conference standings, highlighted by trips to UAB (11-11, 7-2) and Old Dominion (17-4, 6-3). 

To comfortably win any conference, a team needs to win all of their home conference games — something that WKU has done this season by an average of 9.6 points.  

With the four home matches remaining. all featuring teams on the lower half of the standings, this appears to be a reasonably accomplishable task for the team. These contests include North Texas (9-11, 3-5), Rice (6-14, 3-5), Florida Atlantic (8-10, 1-6) and FIU (10-10, 3-4).

Though, on the road in conference play, WKU’s winning average drops to 7 points, with the point differential dropping even more to just two points when you include their road loss to conference leader Louisiana Tech. 

“Like I told our kids, we are 3-1 on the road, and we have done everything we can at home. If you want to win the conference, you have to win all your home games, and now, we are down to five games on the road and four at home,” Head Coach Ray Harper said.  “We have to win all four of those games at home, and we have to find a way to go 3-2 or 4-1 on the road if we want to win this thing.”