Is Liberty worst team in tourney history?
by Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
The Liberty Flames play Tuesday night in a First Four game in Dayton. With 20 losses on the season, the small Lynchburg, Va. school becomes the second team to play in the NCAA tournament team after hitting that mark. Some have said this makes Liberty the worst team to ever make the big dance. Are they? Not quite. Here are our rankings of the eight worst teams in modern NCAA tournament history.
8. 1995 Florida International, 11-17
The Golden Panthers had one of the worst winning percentages ever for an NCAA tournament team, but entered the Atlantic Sun tournament on something of a roll. FIU started 5-17 before rolling off wins in three of its final four regular season games. Adding in the three wins in the conference tournament, that was a 6-1 record heading into the inevitable first-round blowout to eventual champs UCLA.
7. 1997 Fairfield, 11-17
The Stags lost a lot of games in 1997 but weren’t embarrassed in any, outside of getting doubled up at Canisius (91-45). Fairfield lost by two to Boston College and 10 to Connecticut during the season. So when the No. 16 seed led top-seeded North Carolina by seven points at halftime, it wasn’t as much of a stunner as its record would suggest.
6. 2013 Liberty, 15-20
The Flames entered the Big South tournament with an 11-20 record and an RPI of 299 before catching fire to advance to the tournament. The good news for Liberty? Since 2001, teams that entered the NCAAs with a losing record are 5-1 in opening-round games.
5. 2008 Coppin State, 16-20
Coppin State started the year 2-19 against Division I competition, then managed to rattle of 12 wins in its last 13 games before falling in an opening round game to Mount St. Mary’s.
4. 1999 Florida A&M, 12-17
The Rattlers started 0-10 in the 1999 season, then capped the year by losing to Duke by 41 points.
3. 2008 Mississippi Valley State, 17-16
Don’t let the winning record deceive you. The Delta Devils had three wins over non-DI opponent and just one victory over a team with a Pomeroy rating better than 300. Their … [For more on Is Liberty (15-20) the worst team in NCAA tournament history?, click here.]