It wasn’t the season many expected for the Liberty Flames this year, the program’s first in Conference USA.

The Flames failed to reach the 20-win mark for the first time since Coach McKay’s first year back in Lynchburg during the 2015-16 season. Liberty finished tied for 4th place in CUSA, earning a regular season split with every team in the league with the exception of Jacksonville State who swept the Flames.

Liberty’s season may be over but the Flames did play 6 opponents who reached the NCAA Tournament, posting a 2-5 record in those games. Here’s a look at those teams:


Liberty defeated Vermont, 71-61, in the championship game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Nov. 19. The Catamounts went on to have a very successful season, going 28-6 overall and 15-1 in the America East, winning their conference tournament. Vermont has earned a 13-seed and will face 4-seed Duke in the first round of the Big Dance.


The Flames lost to FAU, a Final Four participant a year ago, 83-58 on Nov. 30. The Owls received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament following a 25-8 season and 14-4 record in the AAC, losing in the semifinals of the conference tournament. FAU is a #8 seed and will face #9 seed Northwestern.


Liberty was beaten by Charleston on Dec. 1 in Boca Raton, Florida, 76-67. Pat Kelsey and the Cougars went 27-7 this season and 15-3 in the CAA. Winning the conference tournament, Charleston earned a 13-seed and will face 4-seed Alabama.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon was one of the best mid-major teams in the country this season, posting a 29-4 overall record and a 17-3 mark in the WAC. The Antelopes defeated Liberty, 69-64, on Dec. 9 at Liberty Arena, and have received a 12-seed where they will face 5-seed Saint Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


The Flames fell to Alabama, 101-56, on Dec. 30. The Crimson Tide finished the season at 21-11 overall and 13-5 in the SEC. They are a 4-seed and will face 13-seed Charleston.

Western Kentucky

Liberty split its two games against CUSA Champion Western Kentucky. The Flames lost in Bowling Green, 70-68, to open conference play, and defeated the Hilltoppers, 82-79, in Lynchburg in the regular season finale. WKU is a 15-seed and will face 2-seed Marquette to open the NCAA Tournament.