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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Banshee's Best: Liberty Gets Its Glass Slippers

March Madness.  It's a term even folks who are barely aware that basketball exists are familiar with.  Every secretary and their brother fills out a bracket for the NCAA Tournament.  But, some of the best madness of March takes place a week before the NCAA tournament field is even set.  Nowhere was that more evident than this weekend in Conway, South Carolina, site of the Big South Championship.


Like many conferences that crown their champions in the first half of March, the Big South is a one-bid league.  In other words, regardless of how well you performed in the regular season, you will only get an invitation to the Big Dance if you win the conference tournament.  The Liberty University Flames entered the Big South tournament as the 9th seed in a 12-team bracket.  Liberty University is located in the hills of Central Virginia.  The school motto is:  Training champions for Christ.  On Sunday, the Liberty men's basketball team became the champions of the 2013 Big South Conference Tournament.

(Matt Silfer)
The mere fact that Liberty clinched a bid for the NCAA tournament is not stunning.  The Flames have done it twice before.  What is stunning is that this Liberty team will be dancing its way into the NCAA bracket.  This Liberty team started the season at a dismal 0-8.  This Liberty team went 6-10 in regular season conference play.  While some teams had a double bye in the conference tournament, Liberty had to win 4 games in 4 days to take home the title.  But, the Flames did just that, and that is why they call it March Madness.

On Sunday, the Liberty Flames will find out where they are headed and who they will play in their first round matchup.  With an overall record of 15-20, some may say that Liberty looks more like an ugly step sister than Cinderella.  But when the games begin, Liberty will be on equal footing with the likes of Duke, Kansas and Michigan.  The Liberty Flames will control their own destiny.  Voters and the media do not matter.  If Liberty wins six games in a row (or, most likely 7, in the Flames' case), they will win the NCAA National Championship.



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