"I thought we should have been a 13 [seed] maybe and then no lower than a 14. I thought we should have gotten a little bit more respect than that."
This is what LIU head coach Jim Ferry told ESPN New York after learning of his teams NCAA fate on Sunday night.
See for LIU—a team that comes into the tournament with a 27-5 record, an NCAA leading 13 game winning streak, the fourth highest scoring average, third highest rebound average and an NCAA leading 13 road wins—a 15 seed just isn't good enough.
The Blackbirds, who won their conference title at home on Wednesday in an 85-82 overtime victory over Robert Morris, weren't planning on going to the NCAA tournament to take photos and play in a basketball game, they hope to win and this drawing puts a severe dent in those dreams.
The selection committee has already been given a hard time for rough selections such as putting in UAB and VCU, while leaving out Virginia Tech (again), Colorado, Alabama, Boston College and others. They have been criticized for giving George Mason an eight seed with few significant wins and giving Utah State a 12 seed despite another season of dominance. So with all this being said, it isn't too shocking that a minor snub has been overlooked.
The Blackbirds have had one of the best seasons in their history and need one more win in order to tie a team record. It will without a doubt be difficult for the Blackbirds to win against North Carolina aside from the fact that the game is in Charlotte, just a short distance away from Chapel Hill. "I think we were just a little shocked. We didn't expect to be a 15 and play North Carolina," senior Kyle Johnson told ESPN New York.
However, what is done is done, and the key for the Blackbirds in this game is to do what they are good at—grinding out games on the road and scoring. If the Tar Heels are able to contain LIU, then they will have no chance. LIU needs to get out in transition on every opportunity and they need to stay out of foul trouble, especially their two stars Julian Boyd and Jamal Olaseware.
They have one of the most well-balanced teams in the country. They average the fourth highest average in points but don't have a player averaging more than 13 points per game. They need to attack the Tar Heels from all their weapons.
If they are able to play LIU basketball and not cave into the fact that they are playing THE North Carolina Tar Heels, who just lost in the ACC Championship game to Duke today, then the Blackbirds may just have a shot.
Jim Ferry, who is in his ninth season with the team certainly believes so.