Home-and-home series with five longtime foes highlight the Conference USA portion of the 2020-21 Western Kentucky men’s basketball schedule, as announced Thursday by WKU.
After moving away from the Bonus Play scheduling model with pod play that the league utilized for the last two years, the Hilltoppers will again know their full league slate before the season begins in 2020-21.
In addition to continuing to play travel partner Marshall twice, WKU will also face UAB, Middle Tennessee, Charlotte and Old Dominion two times each in the upcoming season. The Hilltoppers have played those five opponents a total of 272 times in their history.
The Hilltoppers open the C-USA slate on New Year’s Eve at Old Dominion, followed by a Jan. 2 trip to Charlotte.
WKU will then play three straight games in E.A. Diddle Arena, starting with the first of its two matchups this season against Marshall on Jan. 9. The Hilltoppers swept the Thundering Herd last season in two games in a four-day span.
After Marshall, WKU will also host historical foes UAB on Jan. 14 and Middle Tennessee on Jan. 16. The Hilltoppers and Blue Raiders have played 138 times dating back to 1914-15, with WKU holding a 95-43 all-time edge.
Western Kentucky will then head on the road for three straight contests, starting with a trip to the Lone Star State to visit Rice on Jan. 21 and defending regular-season champion North Texas on Jan. 23. The Mean Green clinched their title with a 78-72 overtime win over WKU in Bonus Play last season.
WKU closes the road swing with a trip to Marshall on Jan. 30 following a midweek bye.
The Hilltoppers then rotate home and road series for the remainder of the schedule, including home games against UTSA (Feb. 4) and UTEP (Feb. 6). They then travel to Southern Miss (Feb. 11) and Louisiana Tech (Feb. 13), before welcoming FIU (Feb. 18) and Florida Atlantic (Feb. 20) to Diddle Arena.
The season concludes with four rematches, as WKU travels to Middle Tennessee on Feb. 25 and UAB on Feb. 27. This is the first time for WKU and Middle that the rivals have played twice in the same season since 2016-17.
The Hilltoppers will close the regular season with two home games, hosting Charlotte on March 4 and Old Dominion on March 6 for Senior Night.
The 2021 C-USA Basketball Championships will take place March 10-13 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
C-USA’s television partners could still ask for date changes to accommodate broadcast schedules. Game times will be announced at a later date.
The nonconference portion of the 2020-21 schedule is still being finalized.
The Hilltoppers are 8-4 against the Power Five over the last three seasons and have won 67 total games over that span, the most in Conference USA.
WKU ranks third in NCAA history in regular-season league titles (42), seventh in 20-win seasons (46), eighth in all-time winning percentage (.660) and 15th in all-time wins (1,815).