Hello there, Mid-Major Madness readers. My name is Fletcher Keel and I am one of the newest writers here at MMM, and I'll be covering Conference USA with a slight (okay, very heavy) lean towards Western Kentucky. If my name sounds familiar that's because I used to be the editor at Wave The Red Towel (now defunct) on the FanSided network, and I'm also covering Hilltopper football for Underdog Dynasty.
Alright, now that we know each other, lets talk basket-hoops.
We've known for a while what WKU's Conference USA slate for the coming year looks like - home-and-home's with Marshall, MTSU, Old Dominion and UAB, home games against FIU, FAU, Southern Miss and LA Tech while going to all four Texas schools with the end goal of advancing to (and winning) the CUSA tournament, once again to be held in Birmingham.
But today, we got a look at what the full schedule looks like, and it looks like it'll be lots of fun. Exhibitions in early November against Lindsey Wilson and Kentucky Wesleyan take us to the season opener against Campbellsville at Diddle, part of the Gulf Coast Showcase. The Tops then head to Belmont (who beat WKU last year...) and a rematch with Stony Brook (also at Diddle) before heading off for the second-leg of the GCS (which, full disclosure, I have no idea how it works) where they'll face Drake for certain on November 23 and then play at least two more games in as many days.
December opens with a matchup against Eastern Kentucky (a rivalry that has been dormant since I've been following WKU, so I'm excited to see that game) then a trip to Xavier on December 5th, which could prove to be the most interesting non-conference game of the year - yes, even over Louisville - to face the Musketeers, who a top WKU recruiting target in Quentin Goodin verbally committed to back in early August. Will Goodin be in attendance? Could the outcome persuade him? Can the Tops beat another mid-major power house? That'll be a game I hope plenty of people watch.
Following the Xavier victory or debacle (it'll be one or the other, no in-between), it's off to Diddle for four of five games, facing Indiana State, Alabama A&M, Detroit and Brescia, with that Louisville game sandwiched in-between on Dec. 19 at the Yum Center. I hope we see another fight. And a Hilltopper win, of course.
Conference play begins January 3rd at Marshall, and the CUSA schedule commences from there. Hopefully the Tops play well and earn a top-5 seed in the tournament, but there is a lot to be shown before that happens.
So. There you have it. That's what the year looks like for WKU this season, and again, I'm happy to be on board here at Tri-M (is that a thing guys? I'm going to make it a thing).