Liberty has been picked to finish second in the ASUN in both the preseason ASUN coaches’ poll and media poll, as released by the conference Thursday. Elijah Cuffee was tabbed as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named to the preseason all-conference team.

The Flames are coming off the best season in school history, winning a program record 30 games, as well as winning the ASUN regular season and tournament championship for a second straight season. Under Ritchie McKay, Liberty has won 59 games over the past two seasons, highlighted by a first round NCAA Tournament win over Mississippi State in 2019, the first NCAA Tournament win in school history.

Lipscomb, who Liberty has defeated in the ASUN Tournament Championship game for two consecutive years, was picked as the preseason favorite, outpacing Liberty with 21 first place votes compared to Liberty’s 11, in the two combined polls. The Bisons’ Ahsan Asadullah was picked as the unanimous Preseason Player of the Year in the ASUN.

Liberty’s Elijah Cuffee was voted as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. The senior guard has been key to the Flames’ defense throughout his career, and he has served as the team’s top lockdown defender on the perimeter. Cuffee was also named to the preseason all-conference team alongside junior Darius McGhee.

In addition to Asadullah, Cuffee, and McGhee, the rest of the preseason all-conference team included FGCU’s Caleb Catto and Jalen Warren, North Florida’s Carter Hendricksen, Stetson’s Mahamadou Diawara and Rob Perry, and North Alabama’s Jamari Blackmon and Emanuel Littles.

While Liberty’s non-conference schedule hasn’t been officially announced, the Flames are slated to open the season on Nov. 25 in Melbourne, Florida at Eastern Florida State College facing Purdue and then either Mississippi State or Clemson on Nov. 26. The Flames open conference play and defense of their two consecutive ASUN championships at Lipscomb on Dec. 31.

Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll
(1st place votes) Total Points

  1. Lipscomb (5) 74
  2. Liberty (1) 66
  3. Stetson (2) 64
  4. North Florida (1) 56
  5. FGCU 45
  6. North Alabama 40
  7. Jacksonville 29
  8. Bellarmine 18
  9. Kennesaw State 13

Preseason Men’s Basketball Media Poll
(1st place votes) Total Points

  1. Lipscomb (16) 256
  2. Liberty (10) 245
  3. Stetson (4) 202
  4. North Florida (2) 192
  5. FGCU 156
  6. North Alabama 146
  7. Jacksonville 108
  8. Kennesaw State 68
  9. Bellarmine 62