WKU defeats Charlotte 80-63

Western Kentucky guard Taveion Hollingsworth reacts after making a basket during WKU’s 80-63 win over Charlotte on Jan. 18 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Western Kentucky men’s basketball’s final four games of the regular season were revealed Sunday as part of Conference USA’s new Bonus Play scheduling model.

The Hilltoppers will host their first two games of Bonus Play at E.A. Diddle Arena. They’ll welcome Charlotte at 6 p.m. on Saturday (CBS Sports Network on Facebook Watch) and then Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 (CBS Sports Network).

WKU then travels to North Texas at 1 p.m. on March 1 (CBS Sports Network) before wrapping up the regular season at FIU at 7 p.m. on March 7 (CBS Sports Network on Facebook Watch).

The Hilltoppers were selected for four of the five CBS-produced games in Bonus Play.

Within the new scheduling format, the league’s 14 programs played each other once and their travel partner twice in the first seven weeks of the conference season.

At the conclusion of the seven weeks, teams were placed in one of three groups based on conference standings through the first 14 games of league action. The teams were divided into two groups of five (1-5 and 6-10) and a group of four (11-14). During the final three weeks, teams will play within their respective grouping for the last four games of conference play.

Home and away games within the groups were determined by a preset formula.

Teams were guaranteed to play two home games and two away games over the final weeks of the season.

WKU (18-8 overall, 11-3 C-USA) finished the first 14 games of the regular season as the No. 2 seed and on a four-game winning streak after a road sweep at UTEP and UTSA last week.

The Hilltoppers defeated No. 1 seed North Texas at home 93-84 on Jan. 2, rallying from a 15-point deficit. They lost at No. 5 seed FIU 81-76 on Feb. 1.

WKU beat No. 3 seed Louisiana Tech 65-54 at home Feb. 6 during the Diddle Blackout promotion, and knocked off No. 4 seed Charlotte 80-63 on Jan. 18.

Once all 18 games have been completed, the top 12 teams based on final league standings will be seeded in the conference tournament. Teams will be guaranteed seeding within their respective group. For example, if a program landed in the second group (6-10), it will seed no higher than six and no lower than 10 in the tournament field.

WKU can be seeded no lower than fifth in the C-USA Tournament.

Season ticket holders will use the tickets labeled Game 14 and 15 for the two remaining home games in Diddle Arena. Season long parking passes will also be honored and required for the Bonus Play games.

​— Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.


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