The ASUN announced the 2022-23 men’s basketball schedule on Thursday, revealing the majority of Liberty’s basketball schedule for the upcoming season.

“The conference schedule seems so far away and it’s out of our control, so I don’t really pay much attention to it,” head coach Ritchie McKay said. “I know we open at Bellarmine and that was the last game last year, so I’m sure that will be a stiff challenge.”

The ASUN has expanded to 14 teams with the addition of Austin Peay and Queens. After being split into divisions last year, the conference has moved away from divisions. Teams will play 18 conference games, meeting each of the other 13 teams once and playing five teams twice. The 2022-23 season will be Liberty’s final in the ASUN before moving to Conference USA.

“Austin Peay has been fairly competitive in the OVC and they beat us in St. Petersburg three years ago,” said McKay. “They had a kid named Terry Taylor that dropped 30 on us. So, fortunately, he’s not there anymore. Nate James will do a great job. He’s a former Duke player and coach. I think that will add value. Queens is not eligible for the postseason, but I know Grant (Leonard). I think he does a terrific job. We’ve scrimmaged them year in, year out. They are a Division I team. They’ve been a Division I team for a while.”

“Will it upgrade the level of the ASUN? Yeah, but you guys saw it last year with the addition of Jax State, Central Arkansas, and Eastern Kentucky. Our conference schedule got a lot better really quickly. In Kenpom, we went from the 26th (best conference) to 20th. That will just continue next year with the new Conference USA, so we’ve got to get used to that.”

Liberty will begin its quest for a fourth ASUN title in five years on Dec. 29 at Bellarmine, the defending ASUN Champions. The home conference opener is on Jan. 2 against Lipscomb. The Flames will face conference newcomers Austin Peay on Feb. 2 on the road and Queens in the final two games of the regular season, first on Feb. 22 in Charlotte and in the regular season and home finale on Feb. 24.

The Flames will play Bellarmine, Lipscomb, Jacksonville State, Eastern Kentucky, and Queens twice during the regular season while meeting the other ASUN teams just once.

The conference schedule can now be added to several non-conference games which have been announced previously. The Flames will have three games as part of the Cancun Challenge, beginning with a home date at Liberty Arena against Southern Miss on Nov. 18 before heading to Mexico to take on Northwestern on Nov. 22 and either Bradley or Auburn on Nov. 23. Liberty will play Bryant in the 2022 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday, Dec. 17 in Springfield Massachusetts. The Flames are also scheduled to play at Missouri in the third and final game of the three-game series with the SEC opponent. Date is still to be announced for that game with the Tigers.

“I’m reminded that it’s a compliment that other teams may not want to play you, I get that,” McKay said of non-conference scheduling. “When Darius McGhee announced that he was coming back, scheduling died. We’re still trying to complete it. I think we’re close. We’ve had to take what we can get.”

Liberty is coming off a season that saw the program win 20 or more games for a sixth consecutive year. The Flames finished the season at 22-11 overall and 12-4 in ASUN play, finishing first in the ASUN’s East Division. Liberty saw its three straight ASUN championships come to an end when the Flames lost to Bellarmine, 53-50, on March 5 in the ASUN Tournament semifinals.

Nov. 18 – vs Southern Miss
Nov. 22 – Northwestern (Cancun Challenge)
Nov. 23 – Bradley/Auburn (Cancun Challenge)
Dec. 17 – Bryant (Hall of Fame Classic)
Dec. 29 – @ Bellarmine*
Jan. 02 – vs Lipscomb*
Jan. 05 – vs Jacksonville State*
Jan. 07 – @ Eastern Kentucky*
Jan. 12 – vs North Alabama*
Jan. 14 – vs Central Arkansas*
Jan. 19 – @ Jacksonville*
Jan. 21 –  @ North Alabama*
Jan. 26 – vs Stetson*
Jan. 28 – vs FGCU*
Feb. 02 – @ Austin Peay*
Feb. 04 – @ Lipscomb*
Feb. 09 – vs Bellarmine*
Feb. 11 – vs Eastern Kentucky*
Feb. 16 – @ Kennesaw State*
Feb. 18 – @ Jacksonville State*
Feb. 22 – @ Queens*
Feb. 24 – vs Queens*