Tops Readying for Broadway Title Run

03/24/2018 05:07 PM

by Ryan Dearbone

Time to start spreading the news as WKU (27-10) begins what it hopes will be a two night show at Madison Square Garden. The Hilltoppers are loose and ready to hopefully seize an NIT championship. Act one for the Tops will be against Utah (22-11), which knocked off a very good St. Mary’s to earn its ticket to New York.

Senior forward, Justin Johnson says his team is thrilled to be in the NIT Final Four, but there is still much work to do once they hit the court on Tuesday.

Coach Stansbury said his team will carry with them to the Big Apple the message that college and NBA legend Bill Walton imparted to Stansbury after last week’s trip to Los Angeles.

The Tops of mid-major, Conference USA, are in a field of four with teams representing the PAC-12, SEC, and the Big 10. However, with the Power 5 teams the Hilltoppers have already faced and beaten this season, freshman guard, Taveion Hollingsworth says there is no fear in this squad.

“That shows everybody we ain’t scared. We don’t care who we play. We’re going to play like we play and that’s what I like about us.”

This much-traveled WKU team is the last one from Kentucky still standing, which has energized Topper Nation, and garnered the attention of much of the country and several media outlets. Coach Stansbury is pleased at what this historic run has done for the profile of this resurgent program and the university as a whole.

Stansbury promises the Tops aren’t licking their wounds over the fact they aren’t playing for the NCAA championship this year. In fact, he says he’d rather have the run his team has had through the NIT than a quick first round exit in the Big Dance. Right now, his team is happy to have carved a path in this tournament and have the possibility of hoisting the NIT championship trophy on Thursday night.

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