Hilltopper Hysteria -- Western Kentucky's annual tipoff for Hilltopper and Lady Topper basketball -- will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday in E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.

Parking and admission are free for the event.

"We're excited about Hilltopper Hysteria," WKU fourth-year men's head coach Rick Stansbury said. "We hope we can pack this place and put on a good show for our fans. We're really looking forward to the start of the season."

Both programs will be introduced and will go through scrimmages on John Oldham Court, but in a change from years past, the men's team will instead go through a full, game-length scrimmage.

In addition, there will be contests and promotions on the court during breaks in the action, and an autograph session on the court will conclude the evening.

Stansbury's Hilltoppers have posted 20-victory seasons the past two years, twice reaching the Conference USA Tournament championship game. Western is 7-3 against teams from Power Five conferences over the last two seasons, with wins over Purdue, Boston College, Southern California, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

The Hilltoppers return four starters from last year's team that finished 2014; among them, 6-foot-11, 235-pound sophomore center Charles Bassey, a preseason First-Team All-American selection by Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook and Lindy's Basketball. He was C-USA Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2018-19.

Other returning starters include 6-2 junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth, 6-6 junior guard Josh Anderson and 6-5 senior swingman Jared Savage.

The Hilltoppers, who reached the NIT semifinals under Stansbury in 2018, are seeking their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013.

Western ranks third nationally in regular-season conference championships (42), seventh in 20-win seasons (45), eighth in all-time winning percentage (.660), and 16th in all-time victories (1,795).

The Hilltoppers host Kentucky State in an exhibition game on Nov. 2 before beginning regular-season play at home Nov. 5 against Tennessee Tech.

Western Kentucky's Lady Toppers are entering their second season under head coach Greg Collins, and the program has an active streak of seven consecutive 20-win seasons.

All-C-USA selections Dee Givens and Raneem Elgedawy are among five returning starters for the Lady Toppers, who reached the third round of the Women's NIT last season.

The WKU women host Kentucky Wesleyan in an exhibition on Oct. 31 before beginning regular-season play on the road Nov. 5 at Louisville.

• Season tickets are still available for Hilltopper and Lady Topper basketball. Season tickets start as low as $160 each for the men and $45 each for the women. Family plan tickets are available when purchased in groups of four or more. For more information, call 1-800-5-BIGRED or visit WKUTickets.com.

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