Barring a huge upset Monday or Thursday, two of the top Christian Universities in the country and two of the top players for Christian schools will face off on March 10 for the ASUN championship and an appearance on the 70 million March Madness brackets filled out every March.
The ASUN favorites are the Liberty University Flames, the top Christian university athletic program according to these Christian University Online rankings, and the Lipscomb Bisons, who rank 24th on the list.
That would feature four of the top 11 players for Christian schools, led by Liberty’s Scottie James and Lipscomb’s Garrison Mathews, based on the ratings by www.valueaddbasketball.com that have been lauded by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and other media.
The champions of the 32 conference tournaments are included in the tournament along with the 36 best remaining teams that do not win their tournaments.
There is chance Lipscomb could be invited even if they lost, and Baylor and TCU will likely be invited, but the top 40 players on the other 22 Christian schools listed below need to win their conference tournament to make March Madness.
Liberty (14-2 in the ASUN) faces Jacksonville (5-11) at 7 p.m. Monday and Lipscomb (also 14-2) faces Kennesaw State (3-13) an hour later. Assuming they both win they will need to only get through a Thursday semifinal game against a team with no better than a 9-7 mark in order to advance and face each other.
In addition to the schools ranked by Christian University Online, we included schools who chose to stay affiliated with the Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran or Presbyterian denomination when many other schools founded by churches since dropped their affiliation, with one exception … Duke.
Duke’s Zion Williamson is the most valuable in the country – improving Duke by 13.69 points per game – and his teammate RJ Barrett gives them a top 10 duo with a 10.21. Even though Duke is still Methodist, we left them off the list to give all the other Christian Schools a chance.
We did not include BYU stars TJ Haws and Yoeli Childs, or any of the top 41 Catholic schools with D1 basketball programs such as Gonzaga’s Brandon Clark (ranked 4th in the country) or Marquette’s Markus Howard (ranked 8th).
You can click www.kenpom.com if you are not sure of a schools conference, and then click on CBS Sports here to see the conference tournament bracket. In addition to the ranking of more than 4,000 college players at www.valueaddbasketball.com that can be sorted by conference or team, the site also includes a link to a free dice and cards basketball game that lets people who do not pay any attention to college basketball until March Madness play quick 25 minute games to learn the strengths of players about to play each other in the tournament.
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