April 18, 2001
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - On the strength of its first Sun Belt Conference men's basketball championship since 1995, Western Kentucky University stands second in the race for the Vic Bubas Cup, awarded annually to the Sun Belt institution with the best all-sports performance.
WKU has earned 59.5 points through the end of the winter sports season, putting the Hilltoppers just one-half point behind South Alabama in the Bubas Cup standings. In addition to its men's basketball title, Western has also earned runner-up finishes in men's and women's cross country, as well as a regular-season divisional championship in volleyball. Since joining the Sun Belt prior to the 1982-83 season, the Toppers have consistently placed among the league's all-sports leaders, finishing fourth or better 11 times.
The race for this year's Bubas Cup is extremely tight, as the top five schools are separated by a total of three points. Florida International is in third with 58.5 points, followed by conference newcomers North Texas (58) and Middle Tennessee (57). In a remarkable show of parity, eight of the 12 Sun Belt schools have won at least one league title during the 2000-01 campaign.
Bubas Cup points are awarded on a declining scale, with 12 points being given to the championship team in each sport, 11 going to the runner-up, and so on. To qualify for the Bubas Cup standings, at least six league members must sponsor the sport and compete in its SBC championship. Points in basketball and volleyball are based on divisional and tournament finishes, while women's soccer, baseball and softball are determined by the final regular season standings. All remaining sports are based on the institution's finish at the championship tournament.
Points are still to be awarded in eight league-sponsored sports, beginning with the Sun Belt men's and women's tennis championships, which will take place Friday-Sunday at the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts on the USA campus in Mobile, Ala.