The first four of the NCAA Tournament starts on Tuesday – and the first game out of the shoot in Dayton is the Highlanders of Radford taking on the Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn. This is a East Region game, with the winner getting a chance at the Villanova Wildcats in the first round. The Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn are 18-16 on the season, and finished fourth in the NEC regular season standings.
For the Radford Highlanders, they won the Big South Conference tournament after finishing second in the regular season. The Highlanders are 22-12 on the season and went 12-6 during conference play. Radford took down Liberty in the conference title game. Radford is -4 over LIU-Brooklyn in this game on Tuesday.
The Highlanders challenged themselves in non conference games, going 10-6 overall. Their losses came to Ohio State, Elon, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Nevada and San Francisco. In conference play, Radford lost the title to UNC Ashville by a single game, splitting the two matchups.
Radford is known for their defense. The Highlanders are 14th in all of the nation in defense, as they are allowing teams to score just 64.4 points per game. Offensively, they have work to do, as they are 314th n the country. Ed Polite Jr is the leading scorer for the Highlanders, with 13.5 points per game, while Carlik Jones is second with just shy of 12 per game.
LIU-Brooklyn Looking for First Tournament Win
The Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn lost their first two games of the season to Tulane and Fordham, before beating New Rochelle. The non conference season did not go real well for the Blackbirds as they went 8-8. In the conference tournament, the Blackbirds beat St Francis by 23 points, then beat Fairleigh Dickinson by 1, and downed Wagner by 10 in the title game.
The Blackbirds are an offensive looking team with nearly 78 points per game. They have one of the top offensive players in the tournament, as guard Joel Hernandez is scoring nearly 21 points per game. Talented guard Jashuan Agosto is also putting together a nice season, averaging just shy of 12 points per game for LIU-Brooklyn.
Radford Survives and Advances
The first four games are interesting, and for many teams it is their Super Bowl. This is a chance for both teams to win their first ever NCAA Tournament game. The winner gets a crack at Villanova, and you just never know. A 16 seed has never beaten a 1 in the Big Dance. Maybe this is the year.
But when push comes to shove in this game, we trust the Highlanders of Radford over the Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn. Radford plays pretty good defense, and will look to slow it down a little more. Radford wins and covers this spread in the first of 67 games in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
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