As we discussed with the men’s basketball program last week, today we also take a look at how Liberty’s baseball, softball, and women’s basketball programs fit in their new conference home the ASUN.
The ASUN got two teams in the NCAA tournament in baseball this year, including its first ever regional host in #11 national-seed Stetson. The Hatters were the ASUN regular season and tournament champion and are currently 4th in the nation in RPI and have the longest winning streak in the country. For the 19th time in ASUN history, multiple teams got a bid to the tournament as Jacksonville received the #2 seed in the Gainesville Regional. The Dolphins are currently #23 in RPI with a 39-19 record.
The lowest ranked ASUN baseball team in RPI is at 172. 7 of the 10 Big South teams are ranked lower than that. The ASUN is the 7th best conference according to RPI, compared to the Big South’s ranking of 24.
It’s a similar story in softball, where the ASUN checks in with the 9th best conference in RPI compared to the Big South’s ranking of 19. Kennesaw State is the defending champion and advanced to regional play. The Owls, Florida Gulf Coast, and Lipscomb are all ranked in the top 54 of RPI with the lowest rated team at 169. The ASUN had 4 teams win 30 or more games this season, and its teams finished with an average RPI of 84.6 compared to the Big South’s 136. In 2014, the ASUN had 3 teams advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Liberty and North Alabama will each join the conference in 2019. The Lions, who are transitioning from Division II, have consistently been one of the better softball programs at that classification. They’ve won 30 or more games in each of the past 4 seasons including a 46-7 overall mark in 2018, advancing to the NCAA South 2 Regional. In 2016, UNA won the Division II National Championship.
The ASUN had two top 100 teams in women’s basketball this past season, with Florida Gulf Coast at #47 and Jacksonville at #95. FGCU won the ASUN women’s basketball tournament to advance to the 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament where they received a 12-seed and went on to knock off 5-seed Missouri in the first round. Since 2011, the ASUN champ has received an average seed of 12.7 compared to the Big South’s average seed of 14.3. The ASUN was ranked the 23rd best conference in conference RPI compared to the Big South’s 27 this past season.