Liberty has been invited to take part in a brand new, innovative, three-year round robin series alongside two of the other best mid-major programs in the country, Florida Atlantic and College of Charleston.
The Field of 68 Tip-Off is a three-year event that will be played at FAU this year, head to Charleston in 2024, and then be played at Liberty Arena in 2025.
This year’s games will take place in Boca Raton from Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Liberty will play FAU, a team that is expected to be ranked in the preseason top 10 after their run to the 2023 Final Four. The game is scheduled for Nov. 30 and then the Flames will play Charleston on Dec. 1.
“We are honored to be involved in this event, which has three of the elite mid-major programs in the country,” Field of 68 founder Rob Dauster said. “This is a great opportunity for us to be able to provide more coverage for these teams that frankly don’t get enough. What we do at the Field of 68 is try and give teams at all levels the coverage they deserve.”
FAU coach Dusty May led the program to a 35-win season that culminated with a Final Four appearance. The Owls will return the majority of their team from this past season. Meanwhile, the College of Charleston has consistently been one of the best mid-major programs in the country. Head coach Pat Kelsey led them to a 31-4 campaign this past season and a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“To have a chance to play quality games like this isn’t common for mid-major programs that hit a certain point,” McKay said in a release. “Once you win at a certain level, the return calls from power five teams can sometimes become fewer and fewer.”
Returning starters Colin Porter, Joseph Venzant, and Kyle Rode highlight a group that return to help lead Coach McKay’s Flames this coming season. Key reserves from last season, Zach Cleveland, Brody Peebles, and Shiloh Robinson also return from a team that tied for the ASUN regular season title and advanced to the ASUN title game before falling to Kennesaw State. Liberty finished the year with a 27-9 record and a final KenPom ranking of 48, the highest in school history.
McKay and the Flames have won 131 games over the past five seasons, fourth most in the country. Liberty also has three conference tournament titles in the past five years, four conference regular season titles and one divisional title in the last five years, as well as seven straight 20-win seasons.
In addition to the two games at FAU, Liberty is also set to compete in the 2023 Myrtle Beach Invitational. The eight team tournament is typically held in November each season on the campus of Coastal Carolina in Conway, South Carolina. The Chanticleers, as the tournament host, will also compete in the event. The rest of the field includes the College of Charleston, Furman, Saint Louis, Vermont, Wichita State, and Wyoming.