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Sleepers on deck: What Liberty presents to OSU that could spark danger

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Liberty Flames

What Liberty could bring to the table could be sneaky against the Cowboys come Friday.

While the Cowboys love to play fast when they go up the court, the Flames are slower but just as efficient in their offense, especially in their shooting.

The Offensive shows

With the way the offense is run, the Flames wait for the play to develop. They have guys that can cut in and move around and score. It runs a Virginia-style offense with guys moving on off-ball screens on the perimeter.

With 5-foot-9 Darius McGhee and Chris Parker moving around, they can catch anyone off guard when the Flames fake their cuts inside or bounce back outside.

But on the other side of Liberty with their defense, of course you can’t forget about the offensive show that the Cowboys can bring to the table.

“We’ve seen athletic guards throughout the year, it just so happens that one of their guards is (6-foot-7) who can see over people, he’s one of the best passers in college basketball, and then I don’t know why Bryce Williams and Avery Anderson, Likelele, I don’t know why they don’t get as much credit for how good they are,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said.

This game has the chance to be an offensive show, but it’ll be up to whose defense can get it done.

From downtown

The Liberty big time scorers can hit from deep. While the Cowboy defenders are fairly solid in defending in their zone, the Flames can still knock down their long range shots. The Flames have five big scorers that can knock it down from outside. Keegan McDowell is shooting 40.2%, Elijah Cuffee shoots 41.7%, Drake Dobbs at 45%, Parker at 37% and their star, McGhee, shoots at 41.7% from 3-point range.

Cuffee said they’re staying with their gameplan in this game, nothing different.

“Kind of keep the game at our pace, and just kind of what we do every game, not really changing much of what we do,” Cuffee said.

With many shooters on a basketball team, no one knows where they could end up.

The veterans vs. the youngsters

When it comes to the NCAA Division I tournament, it comes down to who is older and has seen the dance more often.

In Liberty’s young history, this is their all-time peak, mixed with stars who know how to shoot, move but also experience the game. You may think in a game, it probably doesn’t matter, and that’s a decent argument to be had, but in a tournament, it does. It’s also the first dance for coach Mike Boynton and his team to participate in while Liberty has been in this scene back in 2019.

“I do think our experience will be a benefit but I don’t know if that’ll have much relevance,” McKay said.

While star matchups can easily take over, it’s important to look at all aspects into what can make this a game.