Following the best season in school history, Ritchie McKay and the Flames are quickly making progress on their 2019-20 non-conference schedule.
As we first reported, the Flames will open the season on November 8th against former Big South rival Radford. Liberty will make the return trip to the in-state Highlanders in a game currently scheduled for December 5, 2020. Liberty and Radford are separated by just 80 miles and have played each other every season from 1992-92 through 2017-18 before not playing each other this past season following Liberty’s move from the Big South to the ASUN. The Highlanders won 20+ games for the 2nd straight year in 2018-19, but failed to reach the NCAA Tournament after doing so in 2018. Radford lost to Gardner-Webb in the Big South Tournament Championship game.
Also announced recently, is a 3 game tournament, the Bahamas Showcase, where the Flames will be joined by Morgan State, Rice, Milwaukee, MIssouri Kansas-City, George Washington, Evansville, and East Carolina. Liberty will open that tournament on November 22nd against Morgan State, then play either Rice or Milwaukee on November 23rd, and play their final game on November 29th. Morgan State finished 2018-19 with a 9-21 overall mark and 4-12 record in the MEAC. With a final KenPom ranking of 58, Liberty finished higher than any other team that will play in this tournament as Evansville was the next highest finishing at 227.
Navy will be making the return trip to Lynchburg after Liberty faced the Midshipmen in Annapolis, Maryland last season. Liberty won that game, 76-58, played on November 28th. Navy finished the season 12-19 overall and 8-20 in the Patriot League.
The Flames will also play LSU in Baton Rouge on December 29th. That date was special for Liberty this past season, as it was on December 29th that Liberty defeated UCLA. It will be the first ever game between Liberty and the Tigers who advanced to the Sweet 16 this past season before losing to Michigan State. Their coach, Will Wade, was just recently reinstated following an in-season suspension that lasted through the end of the just completed season due to Wade’s potential involvement with the recruiting scandal involving Christian Dawkins. According to the linked report, Liberty will receive $100,000 for the game against the Tigers.
Liberty won a program-record 29 wins in 2018-19 and returns 4 starters from a team that tied for the ASUN regular season title with Lipscomb at 14-2 and won the ASUN Tournament crown. First-team all-ASUN performers Caleb Homesley and Scottie James are part of 7 key contributors from that team that will return looking to make more noise as the program continues to reach new heights.