Liberty men’s basketball announces 2018-19 non-conference schedule
The Liberty men’s basketball team has released its non-conference schedule for the 2018-19 season. The Flames will play seven home games and eight games away from Lynchburg before beginning their first season in the ASUN Conference.
“This is one of the most challenging schedules in this program’s history and we did that because we need to prepare ourselves for the difficult ASUN Conference,” head coach Ritchie McKay said. “We know the challenges that come January when you face Lipscomb, FGCU, North Florida and the entire conference and we feel that these non-conference games will get us ready for the ASUN.”
This will be one of Liberty’s toughest non-conference schedules in school history that features five teams that played in the postseason last year, including three NCAA Tournament teams. The Flames will face three Power 5 schools, which ties the school record for most Power 5 opponents faced in a season.
Liberty will be challenged all across the country as the Flames will travel to six different states playing teams in the BIG EAST, PAC-12, SEC, Sun Belt and Mid-American conferences.
2018-2019 Non-Conference Opponents
Maine Fort Kent | Thursday, Nov. 8 | Vines Center
- This will be the first-ever matchup between Liberty and Maine Fort Kent.
- The Bengals went 23-9 last season.
- Maine Fort Kent appeared in the second round of the USCAA Championships.
Trevecca Nazarene | Tuesday, Nov. 13 | Vines Center
- Trevecca Nazarene is led by first-year head coach, Omar Mance, who was an assistant at Liberty from 2013-16.
- In 2017-18, the Trojans went 6-22 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (Division II).
- This will be the first time Trevecca Nazarene and Liberty face each other.
Kent State | Friday, Nov. 16 | Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center
- This will be the first-ever meeting between Kent State and Liberty.
- The Golden Flashes went 17-17 and 9-9 in the MAC last season.
- Kent State made it to the MAC Championship semifinals last season, losing to Buffalo.
Vanderbilt | Monday, Nov. 19 | Memorial Gymnasium, Commodore Classic
- This is the first SEC school Liberty has faced since 2007 (Kentucky) during McKay’s first stint at Liberty.
- Liberty has only faced Vanderbilt once (2001) in school history.
- Former Director of Basketball Operations for Liberty, Matt Olinger, is now on the Vanderbilt staff.
- The Commodores went 12-20 last year and 6-12 in the SEC.
Alcorn State | Friday, Nov. 23 | Vines Center, Commodore Classic
- This will be the first time Alcorn State and Liberty face each other.
- The Braves went 11-21 last season, finishing seventh in the SWAC at 7-11.
- This will be the third straight season Liberty has faced a SWAC school.
Savannah State | Sunday, Nov. 25 | Vines Center, Commodore Classic
- This will be the second straight season Liberty has faced a MEAC school.
- This is the first meeting ever between Liberty and Savannah State.
- The Tigers are led by head coach Horace Broadnax.
Navy | Wednesday, Nov. 28 | Alumni Hall
- This will be the third meeting all-time between the two schools, having last met in 2000 (W, 53-52).
- This is the first school Liberty has faced from the Patriot League since 2011 (Lehigh).
- Liberty has played only one game at Navy, back in 2000 (L, 53-79).
- Navy went 20-12 last season, finishing third in the Patriot League with an 11-7 record.
Georgia State | Saturday, Dec. 1 | Vines Center
- Liberty defeated Georgia State last season (77-74) in overtime at GSU Sports Arena.
- Georgia State made the NCAA Tournament last year, winning the Sun Belt.
- The Panthers went 24-11 last season with a 12-6 record in the Sun Belt.
- Head coach Ron Hunter has led Georgia State to back-to-back postseason appearances (NCAA in 2018 and CIT in 2017).
- Liberty is 1-2 all-time against Georgia State.
Georgetown | Monday, Dec. 3 | Capital One Arena
- This will be just the second meeting ever between Liberty and Georgetown, having previously met in 2012 (Liberty lost 68-59).
- This will be the first time Liberty has played a BIG EAST school since last playing Georgetown in 2012.
- The Hoyas are led by former NBA player Patrick Ewing who is going into his second year as head coach.
- Georgetown went 15-15 last year with a 5-13 record in the Big East.
South Carolina State | Tuesday, Dec. 11 | Vines Center
- This will be the second MEAC school Liberty faces in 2018-19.
- SCSU went 10-22 last year finishing 10th in the MEAC with a record of 6-10.
- The Bulldogs are led by Murray Garvin, entering his fifth year at SCSU.
Kentucky Christian | Saturday, Dec. 15 | Vines Center
- This will be the second straight season Liberty hosts Kentucky Christian.
- Liberty is 4-0 all-time against Kentucky Christian.
Alabama | Tuesday, Dec. 18 | Von Braun Center, Rocket City Classic
- This will be the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Alabama.
- This will be Liberty’s first game ever played in the state of Alabama.
- Alabama made the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2012.
- The Crimson Tide went 20-16 overall last season and 8-10 in the SEC.
- The Crimson Tide are led by head coach Avery Johnson, who played 16 seasons in the NBA.
- This will be the second time in school history that Liberty faces two SEC schools in a season. In 2005, Liberty faced #7 Kentucky and Mississippi State.
Alabama State | Friday, Dec. 21 | Eckerd College, St. Pete Shootout
- This will be the second straight season Liberty faces Alabama State, having defeated them last season (87-80) in the New Orleans Shootout.
- This will be the third meeting overall between the two schools.
- This will be the second SWAC school (Alcorn State) Liberty will face in 2017-18.
- The Hornets went 8-23 last season with an 8-10 record in the SWAC, finishing seventh.
Austin Peay or Campbell | Saturday, Dec. 22 | Eckerd College, St. Pete Shootout
- If Liberty defeats Alabama State, the Flames will face the Austin Peay/Campbell winner.
- If Liberty loses to Alabama State, the Flames will face the Austin Peay/Campbell loser.
- Liberty has faced Austin Peay twice in school history with a 1-1 record.
- Like Liberty, Austin Peay appeared in the CIT last season and made it to the quarterfinals losing to UIC.
- The Governors went 19-15 last season and 12-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
- Head coach Matt Figger was named OVC Coach of the Year in just his first season at Austin Peay.
- Campbell would be the first Big South school Liberty faces since joining the ASUN Conference.
- Last year Liberty eliminated the Fighting Camels in the Big South Championship quarterfinals 73-59.
- Liberty’s new assistant coach, Kevin Anderson, worked at Campbell last season as assistant director of basketball operations.
- The Flames are 18-13 all-time against Campbell.
- The Fighting Camels appeared in the CBI Tournament last season, making it to the semifinals.
UCLA | Saturday, Dec. 29 | Pauley Pavilion
- This will be the first meeting ever between UCLA and Liberty.
- The Bruins appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season going 21-12 overall and 11-7 in the PAC-12.
- Four of UCLA’s incoming freshmen were ranked in ESPN’s Top 100 including #15 Moses Brown and #32 Shareef O’Neal who is the son of NBA great Shaquille O’Neal.
- UCLA head coach, Steve Alford, became head coach at New Mexico in 2007 after Ritchie McKay left UNM after five seasons.