Conference: Big South Conference
How They Qualified: Big South Conference Tournament Champions
For just the second time in NCAA Tournament history, the field of 68 will include a team that has at least 20 regular season losses. That’s the beauty (or maybe not if you take the other side of the argument) in having conference tournaments decide the automatic berths. Well either way, the Liberty Flames rode their best basketball of the season through the Big South Conference Tournament, sealing their spot in the Big Dance with a 87-76 win over Charleston Southern.
The Flames are dancing for the first time since 2004 and for just the third time overall in school history. Liberty is 0-2 all-time within the NCAA Tournament, but the Flames will likely have the opportunity to pick up a tournament win considering they will probably play in theFirst Four round on Tuesday, Mar. 19 as a 16-seed.
What You Need to Know:
Leading Scorer: John Caleb Sanders (13.8 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: JR Coronado (8.2 rpg)
Leading Passer: John Caleb Sanders (3.5 apg)
Bad Losses: Howard, Longwood, Presbyterian
Good Wins: High Point, Charleston Southern
Entering the month of March, Liberty had not won more than three games all season long and that earlier stretch through non-conference play included a pair of victories against non-Division I opponents. So far in March however, the Flames have rallied for five consecutive wins en-route to their appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Given their record, it’s nearly set in stone that Liberty will play as a 16 seed within the First Four round in Dayton.
The Liberty Flames are dancing!
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS