SAN JOSE, Cal. (AP) — A trip to the Sweet 16 is on the line as Liberty takes on an in-state rival in Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech earned a 66-52 win over Saint Louis in its most recent game, while Liberty won 80-76 against Mississippi State in its last outing.
VETERAN PRESENCE: Senior leadership has been on display for both teams this year. Kerry Blackshear Jr., Ahmed Hill, Justin Robinson and Ty Outlaw have combined to account for 62 percent of Virginia Tech’s scoring this season. For Liberty, Scottie James, Caleb Homesley, Lovell Cabbil, Elijah Cuffee and Darius McGhee have collectively accounted for 70 percent of all Liberty scoring, including 79 percent of the team’s points over its last five games.
OFFENSIVE THREAT: Nickeil Alexander-Walker has made or assisted on 44 percent of all Virginia Tech field goals over the last five games. The sophomore guard has accounted for 32 field goals and 22 assists in those games.
PERFECT WHEN: Liberty is a perfect 25-0 when its defense holds opponents to a field goal percentage of 46.9 percent or less. The Flames are 4-6 when allowing opponents to shoot any better than that.
ASSIST RATIOS: The Flames have recently gotten buckets via assists more often than the Hokies. Virginia Tech has an assist on 38 of 73 field goals (52.1 percent) across its previous three outings while Liberty has assists on 45 of 80 field goals (56.3 percent) during its past three games.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Liberty has held opposing teams to 61.2 points per game this year, the eighth-lowest figure among all Division I teams.
No. 12 seed Liberty (29-6) vs. No. 4 seed Virginia Tech (25-8)
NCAA Tournament Second Round, SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California; Sunday, 6:10 p.m. EDT