Its March Madness and its time to analyze and predict if LU will be invited to play in a post season tournament, when they will play, where they will play, and who they will play. Life in a one bid league is so difficult, it all comes down to being able win consecutive games in conference tournament in March.

The way the tie breaker and tournament was set up this year in the ASUN made things especially difficult for the Flames, who eventually ended up losing on the road to a veteran KSU team. Would have loved some contingency in the tiebreaker that allowed for a neutral site championship if the higher seed hosted the only regular season matchup between the teams. However painful and whatever ritual needed, its past time to flush that loss and move on to the postseason.

With a very strong NET, Liberty has positioned itself in a wonderful spot for the NIT. The Flames are even being mentioned as others receiving consideration for the Big Dance. This is a reflection of the wonderful season the Flames had, and getting an at-large to the NIT would be among the top accomplishments in the program’s history. So lets break it down. How does the NIT work?

There are 32 teams in this NCAA owned and operated post season tournament. The NIT final four has moved to Vegas this year for a tournament that is sure to include some of the biggest program names in college hoops. The Carolina Tarheels are also projected to play in the NIT along with a few other recent NCAA tournament champions. The field will provide LU a chance to play some P5 programs and give fans some excitement around playing some well known programs.

The 32 teams in the bracket will comprise of auto bids + first four out + at large. The auto bids are reserved for regular season conference champions that did not win their conference tournament, and did not receive an at large into the NCAA tournament. We have been tracking and with two outstanding championships to be played on Sunday, there are a possibly 12 teams that would get this autobid into the NIT.

The next group of teams to receive a ticket to the NIT is the “first four out” as selected by the NCAA selection committee. So if you are doing the math, that is 16 teams remaining that will be invited to participate in the NIT. These will be selected based mostly on NET rankings, but there are other factors.

After studying bracketology and following along this March and given Liberty’s very strong 44th ranking in NET, we predict LU will most certainly fall in that group that will get an at large bid into the NIT. The question is who hosts, and what seed will be Flames be?

Once the 32 teams are selected the four teams that were in the “first four out” category will be given a 1 seed in the NCAA. The other 28 teams are stacked and seeded based mostly on their NET. We predict the Flames will be a 3 or a 4 seed based on an analysis of likely teams in the NIT and their NET. The first 3 rounds of the NIT will be hosted by the higher seed, and the Final Four will be played in Las Vegas. 

Final prediction with my newly minted certification in NIT bracketology, the Flames will be a 3 seed and host Villanova in the first round. What an amazing game that would be to attend at the LA and would be just the magic elixir many of us still need.