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Liberty-Radford MBB pregame

— Chris Lang

I don’t know why I expected Radford students to actually show up to tonight’s game with Liberty. Maybe because it’s homecoming. Maybe because Liberty is supposedly Radford’s arch-rival. But 16 minutes before tipoff, the Dedmon Center is probably 60 percent empty. Late arriving crowd, maybe.

Couple of thoughts about tonight’s game, featuring the Flames (12-9, 4-2 Big South) and Highlanders (5-15, 0-5).

* This is a huge opportunity for Liberty. Radford is bad, but winning on the road in league is never easy in any conference. Ask North Carolina, which needed some late heroics to knock off Georgia Tech in Atlanta. If the Flames win, they finish the first half of the league schedule tied with Winthrop for second at 5-2. With a loss, they will likely join High Point in a tie for third, not a great place to be considering Liberty still has to travel to High Point next week.

* Opponents are shooting 37 percent from 3-point range against Radford this year, an encouraging sign since the Flames like to shoot the long ball. I’d expect Liberty to really challenge Radford sophomore forward Joey Lynch-Flohr tonight, going at him hard with forward Alex McLean. Teams that have continually double teamed McLean have paid recently, and Radford isn’t a good defensive team.

* The Flames last won two Big South road games in a row last February, when they beat VMI and Radford in succession. Liberty is coming off a win at VMI Monday.

* If Radford doesn’t get scoring from its starters, it’s in trouble. The highest scoring reserve is forward Phillip Martin at 3.4 points per game. Four of the five starters average double figures in scoring.

* It’s the annual Coaches vs. Cancer weekend in college hoops, so all coaches and staff are sporting sneakers on the sideline. Liberty is taking the Villanova Approach, wearing warm-ups and polo shirts with the sneakers. Radford’s coaches are going with the suit and sneaker look. I like the former, myself.

I say the Villanova approach because that’s what the Wildcats’ coaching staff did today against Syracuse, leading to a great line from ESPN’s Len Elmore, who mentioned that Villanova coach Jay Wright would not wear a sneaker with a designer suit, since he usually is “sartorially resplendant.” Well done, sir.

And the Radford pep band just started playing “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba. Shoot me now.

This post first appeared on The News & Advance Sports Blog | Covering Lynchbur, please read the originial post: here

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Liberty-Radford MBB pregame


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