FLAMES CRACK MID-MAJOR TOP 25
After beginning the season unranked, Liberty debuted this week in the Mid-Major Top 25 at No. 15 following the team’s 2-2 start to the season. The Flames’ wins over South Carolina and Mississippi State made an impression on the voters and nationally, and the losses to Purdue and TCU certainly aren’t bad on a resume for a mid-major team.
The Flames were a mainstay in these rankings over the past two seasons and have risen as high as the top 5 last season. Provided Liberty has no slip ups, the Flames should remain in the ranking the rest of the year.
Gonzaga is at the top of the ranking and former Big South rival Winthrop is just one spot ahead of Liberty at No. 14. Both Stetson and Lipscomb from the ASUN are among those receiving votes.
MCGHEE NAMED ASUN POTW
Liberty junior guard was named the ASUN Player of the Week for the first time in his career. In the first week of the 2020-21 season, McGhee averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He picks up the first weekly honor from the ASUN this season after being a four-time ASUN Newcomer of the Week during his freshman campaign in 2018-19.
McGhee made the Space Coast Challenge All-Tournament Team as well as the Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament Team. He set career-high scoring marks in the first two games of the season in the Space Coast Challenge. Against Purdue, he scored 21 points to go along with 6 rebounds in the Flames’ first game of the season, and to close out the tournament he scored a career-high 23 points shooting 66% from the field.
AROUND THE ASUN
The Flames certainly have the two nicest wins so far this season of all the teams in the ASUN. Preseason favorite Lipscomb opened the season 1-1 with a win over Lamar on a neutral court, 76-73, before losing at Tulane, 68-66. Both opponents are ranked in the 200s by KenPom
Most disappointingly, Stetson lost their only game of the early season, 64-61, to Division II Emmanuel. Sophomores Rob Perry and Mahamadou Diawara started the game alongisde three freshmen as the Hatters continue with their youth movement under second year head coach Donnie Jones.
North Alabama is 1-0 with a win over non-DI Oakwood, 98-74. Kennesaw State also has two wins over non-DI schools to open at 2-0, defeating Carver, 87-40, and Toccoa Falls, 106-44.
Jacksonville is 2-0 with a win over non-DI Coastal Georgia, 99-57, and a win over KenPom No. 301 Southern Miss, 66-51. FGCU beat KenPom No. 318 Florida A&M, 65-56.
North Florida is 0-3 to begin the season, with losses against ACC opponents NC State, 86-51, and Miami (FL), 77-59. They also lost to KenPom No. 193 Eastern Kentucky, 80-67.
ASUN newcomer Bellarmine hasn’t played yet this season.