Prepping to begin its first season under the direction of head coach Rick Stansbury, Western Kentucky received its highest preseason projection by league coaches since joining Conference USA.
The Hilltoppers were picked to finish third in league play this coming the league office announced on Thursday. UAB, last season's regular season winner, and Middle Tennessee, the reigning C-USA tournament champion, are ahead of WKU in the coaches voting.
The league coaches selected WKU junior forward Justin Johnson to the the preseason All-Conference Team. Johnson started 26 outings, appearing in 32, last season and led the team in both scoring (14.9) and rebounds (7.9).
The Hilltoppers will open the 2016-17 season on Nov. 12 against Alabama State at E.A. Diddle Arena.
2016-17 Preseason All-C-USA Team
Erik McCree, Charlotte, senior forward
Jon Elmore, Marshall, junior guard
Ryan Taylor, Marshall, senior forward
Giddy Potts, Middle Tennessee, junior guard
Reggie Upshaw Jr., Middle Tennessee, senior forward
Jeremy Combs, North Texas, junior forward
Marcus Evans, Rice, sophomore guard
Chris Cokley, UAB, junior forward
William Lee, UAB, junior forward
Justin Johnson, WKU, junior forward
2016-17 Preseason C-USA Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. UAB (10)
2. Middle Tennessee (4)
5. Old Dominion
7. Louisiana Tech
10. North Texas
12. Florida Atlantic
13. Southern Miss