Fans enjoy ‘family’ atmosphere for Selection Sunday

Sunbelt Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player George Fant hoists the Sunbelt Championship trophy over his head as the Hilltopper men’s basketball team was greeted by fans at South Campus following the team’s victory in the tournament

Jordan Wells

An estimated 1,400 WKU fans showed up in Diddle Arena on Sunday to watch the Selection Show and see where the Toppers were headed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

But according to Mt. Vernon freshman Sydney Arvin, for a few moments the crowd all came together as one big family.

“I feel like from the players, to the coaches, to the fans, we all united together when we saw WKU’s name flash on the screen,” she said. “It was a really cool experience.”

WKU’s name was one of first to pop up on the Diddle Arena screens showing CBS’ live broadcast of the Selection Show.

Fans cheered as it was announced the Toppers would play Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio — with overall No. 1-seed Kentucky waiting in the next round.

While Arvin said she’s looking forward to watching the Toppers first round matchup on TV, other fans have already made plans to make the drive to Dayton on Tuesday.

Longtime WKU fan David Carter said he’s already got tickets lined up for the Toppers’ Tuesday night game.

“The spirit is back here at WKU,” said Carter. “I believe this team believes they can beat anybody, including Kentucky.”

 However Carter said it was important the Toppers not overlook MVSU.

“They’re a senior loaded squad,” he said. “They played a ton of big road games this year out of conference, including at North Carolina. They aren’t going to be scared of us.”

Louisville junior Stephen Korfhage said he enjoyed the show WKU put on for Selection Sunday, which included performances from the pep band and cheerleaders and introductions of players and coaches.

He said he was confident about the Toppers advancing in the tournament.

“I can’t make it to Dayton, but I’m going to do my best to make it to Louisville when we advance.” he said.

Korfhage said he liked the Toppers’ chances in a potential second round matchup against Kentucky.

“I’ve seen them play a couple times this year,” he said of Kentucky. “The effort wasn’t always there.”

Elizabethtown senior Tyler Jury said he also thinks WKU is ready to “make some noise.”

“If we get past Mississippi Valley State, obviously UK is a really talented team,” he said. “But we’ve got some great talent too.”

Jury said he followed WKU’s road to the NCAA Tournament over spring break, one of several reasons he decided to join the team and other fans in Diddle for the Selection Show.

“I watched every game over the break,” he said. “With how young they are, the potential for the team in the coming years is through the roof.”