WKU Basketball: Full 2018–2019 Schedule Released
We now finally know who the Tops will be playing this upcoming season for the 100th season of WKU basketball on the Hill. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Overall, I would say this is one of the best and strongest schedules WKU has had in a while, especially for the non-conference opponents. There aren’t any cupcakes like Brescia or Pikeville in the regular season schedule before conference play begins which definitely helps their SOS.
That seems to be one of the main things I see about this year’s schedule is the emphasis of having a strong SOS. Despite the NCAA replacing the RPI with the new NET evaluation system, nothing is ever certain in today’s age of college basketball (escpecially for mid-majors) so the stronger they can get their schedule the better come Selection Sunday.
The Tops will start the regular season on the road in Seattle against Washington which will be a strong Power 5 test for them to start the year. The last time the Tops played the Huskies it did NOT end well for WKU mostly in part to this one guy the Dubs had named Markelle Fultz who was pretty good. Thankfully this time around there isn’t anyone that caliber on Washington’s roster so hopefully things will end differently.
But in order to save you and I both some time, I’d like to highlight the games I think will be the biggest for WKU and for the fans too.
Home Games vs Saint Mary’s and Wisconsin
These will be the two biggest non-conference games WKU will host this season and they’ll be back-to-back. The only bummer to me is that these games will take place during winter break so students won’t be on campus but I’d still look for those games to sell out, especially the rematch game against Wisconsin.
While the Badgers didn’t live up to the standard of what Wisconsin basketball is generally like, they will be a stronger team next season returning two of their best players.
As far as Saint Mary’s goes, I’m still appalled that the Gaels didn’t receive an NCAA Tournament bid last season. They were ranked through most of the year last season and finished with a 30–6 overall record. This match will be the ultimate test for WKU and will be one of the hardest opponents they will face in the regular season.
Any time WKU faces an SEC opponent is usually a pretty big deal and I feel like this will be a pretty close game. Arkansas went 23–10 last season and finished fourth in the SEC but with this game being after the Myrtle Beach Invitational, WKU should be more cohesive and in-shape by the time they meet in early December.
Myrtle Beach Invitational
If this tournament goes anything like the Battle 4 Atlantis did last year, it should pay dividends for WKU. The Tops start off against another mid-major powerhouse Valparaiso with the chance to play West Virginia in the next round. Having strong teams like these would help WKU’s SOS and give them much needed experience against NCAA Tournament caliber teams. Full details on the Myrtle Beach Invitational can be found here.
Last Five Conference Games
One thing that will be different this season within the Conference USA is the way they will change the last four/five games of the year before the conference tournament. Our Sam Gormley wrote in-depth about how it will work here but in general, it will seed the best teams in the conference against each other to help strengthen the best teams of the conference before the conference tournament.
It’s possible that WKU and Marshall could meet up the three times before the conference tournament and also could mean that WKU would only play rival MTSU once. It’s going to be an interesting change that we will hear more about the closer we get to those games.
So now that we know who the Tops will be playing next season, I look for the hype around this year’s team to only intensify the closer we get to November.