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Mid-majors that could surprise

By David Dorman  ( 


As we prepare to fill out our brackets in a couple of weeks, which teams might be in the 2021 NCAA tournament and which might make you look really smart (or really lucky)? Let’s look at some of the conference tournaments tipping off this week.



Some scorching flames are coming out of Lynchburg, Va., where Liberty is one of the hottest teams in the country. The Flames are 20-5 and have won nine straight. If they can run the ASUN tournament, I have them in line for a No. 13 seed in the NCAA bracket. This will be a team no power-conference school will want to play. If Liberty were to lose in the conference tournament, it would still merit discussion by the NCAA selection committee, but I believe Liberty would fall just short. The second-best team in the conference is Bellarmine, but the Knights are ineligible for the NCAA tournament because it is their first season in Division I. Liberty should play with a chip on its shoulder and run through the ASUN tournament. If the Flames end up in the NCAAs, look for them to win a game or two. Coach Ritchie McKay’s teams are known for playing their best ball in March, as his teams have won back-to-back ASUN tournaments. McKay also guided Liberty to its first NCAA tournament in 2019, and the Flames knocked off Mississippi State as a 12th seed.

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