Liberty Men's Basketball 2019 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Liberty Flames

ASUN (28-6, 14-2)

Liberty very quietly put together a very good 2018-2019 campaign. Much of the talk in the ASUN centered around Lipscomb, but this Liberty team tied atop the conference standings with a 14-2 record and knocked off the Bisons in the ASUN championship final to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Big Wins: 11/16 at Kent State (77-70), 12/1 Georgia State (78-52), 3/10 at Lipscomb (74-68)
Bad Losses: 11/19 at Vanderbilt (70-79), 12/22 vs Austin Peay (66-75), 2/23 at North Florida (70-75)
Coach: Ritchie McKay
Why They Can Surprise:
This is a team that plays great defense under Coach Ritchie McKay. The Flames allow just 60.8 points per game, which ranks sixth in the nation. That defense will keep Liberty in most games, but it is their shooting ability that can win some games against tougher competition. Liberty is a very good shooting team from everywhere on the floor and it starts with Scottie James. The 6-8 forward hits 67.6 percent from the floor and averages 13.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. The good shooting extends to beyond the arc, where Lovell Cabbil, Elijah Cuffee and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz all shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Add in Caleb Homesley and Darius McGhee and Liberty has a ton of outside shooting threats.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Liberty’s impressive defense can run into some problems when they take on larger frontcourt players. The Flames are not a big team. James is 6-8 and Homesley is a big 6-6 guard, but those are the tallest two players in the regular rotation. Against a team that has a couple of quality scoring big men, Liberty will be in trouble. Fortunately, the Flames have enough shooters to help make up for it, but that is not likely going to be enough for Liberty to beat a quality team in the NCAA Tournament.
Probable Starters:
Caleb Homesley, Junior, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.8 apg
Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz, Junior, Guard, 7.3 ppg, 2.3 apg
Lovell Cabbil, Senior, Guard, 11.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg. 2.7 apg
Elijah Cuffee, Sophomore, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 1.9 apg
Scottie James, Junior, Forward, 13.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg
Key Role Players:
Keenan Gumbs, Senior, Forward, 5.9 ppg
Darius McGhee, Freshman, Guard, 7.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Myo Baxter-Bell, Junior, Forward, 4.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.0 (134th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.8 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.0 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (63, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (67, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.7 (72, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.1 (12, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.2 (111, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (68, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.0 (31, 1)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2018CITFirst Round win over North Carolina A&T
2018CITQuarterfinal win over Central Michigan
2018CITSemifinal loss to Illinois Chicago
2017CITFirst Round win over Norfolk State
2017CITSecond Round win over Samford
2017CITQuarterfinal loss to UMBC
2013NCAAOpening Round loss to North Carolina A&T
2009CITFirst Round win over Rider
2009CITSecond Round loss to James Madison
2004NCAARound of 64 loss to St. Joseph's
1994NCAARound of 64 loss to North Carolina
*all team stats through 3/10