To close out its non-conference schedule, Liberty will play its final two non-conference games in the New Orleans Classic, hosted at Xavier University Convocation Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Flames will face Fort Wayne in the opening round on Thursday at 1pm. To close out the tournament, Liberty will then face either Louisiana Tech or Alabama State, based on the Thursday winners.
The Fort Wayne Mastodons are 8-5 on the season and are coming off a 20 point win over in-state rival Indiana on Monday. IPFW was a sizzling 17-of-30 from 3 point range against the Hoosiers. Fort Wayne is led by 4th year head coach Jon Coffman and is coming off its 2nd straight 20 win season. 6’1″ redshirt-senior guard Bryson Scott leads the Mastodons with 23 points per game. 6’5″ redshirt-junior John Konchar is 2nd on the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game, while he leads the team in rebounding and assists, at an 8.8 and 3.9 per game clip, respectively. It will be a battle of playing styles as Fort Wayne is currently averaging 83.5 points per game, while the Flames rank 6th in the country in holding its opponents to 59.5 points per contest. The Mastodons make 10.6 3-pointers a game, good for 23rd in the country.
Louisiana Tech is currently 7-4 this season with their most recent setback coming at Texas. The Bulldogs are led by 3rd year head coach Eric Konkol, and they have won 20 or more games in each of the past 5 seasons. They are paced by 3 double figure scorers, led by Jalen Harris’ 15.3 points per game. DaQuan Bracey (15.2) and Jacobi Boykins (13.3) are also double digit scorers for the Bulldogs.
Alabama State is winless this season, dropping their first 10 contests. The Hornets have faced 3 Power 5 opponents and are coming off an 8 point home setback to Big South foe Winthrop. Lewis Jackson is in his 13th season as Alabama State’s head coach. They finished 8-23 last year.
According to KenPom, Louisiana Tech is the favorite in the tournament, as they are ranked 112th. The Flames are currently positioned at 144 while Fort Wayne is 160. Alabama state is ranked 342 out of 351 Division I teams according to KenPom.