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Rick Stansbury views UK not scheduling WKU as sign of respect

Some fighting words.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-SMU vs Western Kentucky Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats have not played the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the regular season since 2001, and WKU has had enough of waiting.

Earlier this summer, UK announced games against Marshall and UAB of Conference-USA, which did not sit well with the Hilltoppers who badly want a chance at the Wildcats.

“If you’re making the C-USA tour, give us a call back sometime!” the official WKU men’s basketball account wrote in response to UK’s announcement post. “We’re ready and right down the road.”

Instead of getting angry about it, Western Kentucky head coach Rick Stansbury is viewing the Wildcats’ lack of desire to face his group as a sign of respect.

“I do understand. Don’t mean I have to really like it. I look at it as respect,” Stansbury told reporters Tuesday. “That’s the way I look at it. Somebody doesn’t want to play us, they play someone else in your league, other teams. I don’t look at the negatives, I look at the positives.

“Naturally, we would love to play Kentucky,” Stansbury added. “Do I understand why they don’t want to play us? I do. Probably, if I’m Kentucky, why take the chance on playing Western Kentucky? Why do that?”

Stansbury added that Kentucky and WKU have had talks about a potential matchup, as a UK spokesperson recently said they will continue to discuss scheduling opportunities with the Hilltoppers for future seasons.

Despite their close proximity, the Wildcats and Hilltoppers have played just six times, with three matchups coming in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats lead the series 4-2, but they did lose the latest regular season matchup between the two Bluegrass schools’ in 2001.