Hilltoppers Lose Ground In Coaches' Poll Despite Unbeaten Week

By: James Brandenburg
By: James Brandenburg

Western Kentucky University men's basketball saw a spike in national notoriety following its wins over Southern Illinois and then-No. 3 Louisville a little more than a week ago - the Hilltoppers even received five votes for the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll.

Extending that win streak to four games did nothing to impress the pollsters, though.

Despite two wins last week - one over defending Southeastern Conference tournament champion Georgia - the Hilltoppers lost those five votes, falling out of the Others Receiving Votes category of the poll.

A few players - most notably senior guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez - intimated to the Bowling Green Daily News following Saturday's win over Tulane that they hoped to possibly reach the top 25 this week.

“It’s something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid,” Mendez-Valdez told the newspaper. “You are always watching ESPN and watching the big-time teams, and you want to be a part of that.”

Mendez-Valdez went on to say he thought one more win might do the trick - the Hilltoppers' next game is at Evansville on Saturday.

The Purple Aces should provide a tough test - they're 5-1, winning all five of their home games. WKU is 39-19 all-time against Evansville but is just 2-4 in its last six trips there, dating back to the 1981-82 season.

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