Disappointingly, Liberty fell short of the ultimate goal of winning the ASUN Tournament and earning the league’s automatic bid by losing to Kennesaw State by one point on Sunday at the KSU Convocation Center in Kennesaw, Georgia.
With a top 45 NET, Liberty has been mentioned as a long shot candidate on the bubble as an at large team to the NCAA Tournament. Because the Flames are just 1-5 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents, it will be an incredibly tough hurdle to overcome that plus being from the ASUN to get an at-large bid. Frankly, I just don’t see it happening, unfortunately.
By not making the Big Dance it leaves a bit of a stain on the 2022-23 season and the ending of Liberty’s time in the ASUN, but once that sting of defeat wears off, hopefully we can all rally behind the team for a potential NIT appearance.
No team in the country begins their season with a set goal of making the NIT at the end of the year, but it can be a decent consolation prize for teams that fall short of being one of the 68 teams that make the NCAA Tournament. Liberty falls into this category this March.
The 2023 National Invitation Tournament marks a new beginning for the event. The NIT, after a nation-wide bid process, selected Las Vegas to host this season’s NIT semifinals and championship. This ends a longstanding tradition of the NIT’s Final Four being played at Madison Square Garden in New York. The tournament has been played every year (except for 2020) since 1938. The full 32-team field will be released on Sunday, March 12.
Teams are seeded 1-4 in 4 regions. The rest of the 16 teams are placed into the bracket based on several factors including geography. The first three rounds of the NIT are played at campus sites, hosted by the higher seeded teams.
The NIT awards automatic bids to conference tournament 1-seeds that don’t advance to the NCAA Tournament. Those teams will eat into the 32 teams that advance to the event with the remaining spots being selected as at-large entrants into the event by a committee.
Liberty has never advanced to the NIT and it would provide a nice opportunity for the team after not making it to the NCAAs. As we continue through championship week, keep an eye on the 1-seeds in single bid conference tournaments. The more of them that win their league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the more spots for Liberty to get into the NIT.
Believe it or not, there are actually some websites that do NIT Bracketology, here are a few of them:
- The Resource Nexus – has Liberty as a 1-seed
- NIT Bracketology – has Liberty playing on the road at 1-seed Rutgers
- DRatings – has Liberty as a 3-seed
- The Barking Crow – has Liberty as a 3-seed and playing host to Virginia Tech in the first round