When one looks at the best records in college basketball, the first teams that come to mind are the ones around the No. 1 seed conversation: Gonzaga, San Diego State, Dayton, Kansas, etc. One team that is a surprising outlier? The Liberty Flames.
Liberty has quietly amassed a 27-3 record for the 5th best record in college basketball as of this writing. They’ve rolled through their season with their only losses coming on the road at LSU, North Florida and Stetson.
But in the Atlantic Sun, they have struggled to put together a quality resume that would give them a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament. While the win total is impressive, a small number are considered relatively good. Only two games are rated as a Quadrant 1 or 2 opportunity – where they went 1-1 – the remaining 25 are in Q3 and Q4.
When the NCAA eliminated the RPI as a metric to determine the NCAA Tournament field, the Quadrant system was implemented to rank the quality of games based on the opponent and where the game was played. And in the committee’s eyes, Liberty does not meet the standards to solidly be in the NCAA Tournament.
Bracketologists are unified though in their analysis of the Flames. They’re one of the best teams from a single-bid conference and are currently on the No. 12 seed line. With that being the current positioning of the bubble, many teams will have an interest in how the Flames finish the season.
Liberty will instantly pop in the bubble conversation if they lose in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Likely, they probably won’t make it to the big dance if they get another loss to an Atlantic Sun team. But it will make other teams sweat for the final two weeks. To solidify their spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, Liberty will have to win the A-Sun tournament.
They run a style similar to Virginia. A focus on defensive effort and limited possessions for the opposition. Their offense is balanced more efficiently than last season as they have three scorers averaging more than 10 points a game.
They don’t match up well against many teams in the country. Last year they proved it by upsetting Mississippi State in a No. 5 vs. No. 12 contest. Power 5 teams won’t want to see this team on their side of the bracket this year either.
It's not out of the question that the Flames could lose somewhere in their conference tournament. If they do, they'll have an automatic qualifier for the NIT.
Liberty Flames Resume
Average Seed: 12
Q1 Record: 0-1
Q2 Record: 1-0
Q3 Record: 4-1
Q4 Record: 20-1
Best win: Akron -neutral site (NET: 79)
Worst loss: @ Stetson (NET: 304)
Remaining Schedule: Atlantic Sun Tournament
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