By winning the Big South Tournament, the Liberty Flames became just the second 20-loss team in college basketball history to make it to the NCAA Tournament. In the First Four they will face MEAC champion North Carolina A&T, who are 7-0 ATS in games featuring a spread this season.
One of these schools will pick up its first NCAA Tournament win ever as Liberty (15-20 SU) is 0-2 SU all-time in NCAA Tournament games and North Carolina A&T is 0-9 all-time. The winner will advance into the Field of 64 as a No. 16 seed to face No. 1 Louisville.
The Aggies sit at 19-16 (7-0 ATS) on the season. By comparison, the Flames are currently 15-20 (5-3 ATS). Looking to wager on the totals? North Carolina A&T is 2-3 OU, and Liberty is 4-1 OU.
Bettors looking to back visiting Liberty before tip-off in this one found them as 1.5-point underdogs over at Sportsbook.ag earlier. Watch for the over under to adjust during the day at TopBet.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Aggies - Flames odds would favor the Aggies if the lines were set according to our power ranks. North Carolina A&T is rated No. 137 in the current Odds Shark poll, while Liberty is at No. 154. Mathematical models based on recent stats and predictive formulas point to a 67-65 win for the Aggies.
How They Match Up:
The game also pits North Carolina A&T's No. 291-ranked offense, averaging 62.2 PPG, against a Flames defense that ranks No. 260 at 69.9 PPG. The Aggies field goal percentage has averaged 39.9% so far, less than the Flames marksmen have achieved on the year, 42.9% per game.
Comparing how these foes stack up statistically, Liberty owns the country's No. 211-rated mark, allowing 71.1 points per game on the highway. North Carolina A&T, on the other hand, rates No. 262 in scoring at home.
In their last action, Liberty was an 87-76 winner on the road against Charleston Southern. They covered the 7.5-point spread as underdogs. John Caleb Sanders went off for 27 points and added 7 rebounds, leading Liberty over Charleston Southern, 87-76, on Sunday at HTC Center.
North Carolina A&T was a 57-54 winner in their most recent outing on the road against Morgan State. They covered the 3.5-point spread as underdogs. The Aggies got 14 points from Adrian Powell as North Carolina A&T ran past Morgan State 57-54 on Saturday at Norfolk Scope Arena.