The Lipscomb men’s basketball team likely missed its chance to advance to the NCAA tournament when it dropped last Sunday’s ASUN title game to Liberty, 74-68.
However, Lipscomb has remained in the at-large bid conversation for much of the past week. That’s partially thanks to the team’s “Bisons vs. the Bubble” campaign on Twitter, which compared Lipscomb to other bubble teams like Indiana, Texas, St. John’s, Alabama, TCU, Ohio State and Arizona State.
Media personalities including Dick Vitale, Jeff Goodman, Clark Kellogg and Scott Van Pelt have all mentioned Lipscomb as a possible at-large team since Sunday’s ASUN title loss.
But it appears the Bisons are on the outside looking in as the Power 5 conferences complete their tournaments this weekend. Lipscomb is expected to be in the NIT field when it’s announced on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Lipscomb ranked as the sixth team left of the bracket as of Saturday morning. Belmont is listed as the first team out.
CBS analyst Jerry Palm sees the Bisons as a bubble team and the Bruins as the third team left out.
Bisons likely traveling for NIT
Multiple sources told Lumination that Lipscomb did not apply to host NIT first or second round games. The school is on spring break this week, and there is a possible venue conflict in Allen Arena for the second round date.
That means the Bisons will be hitting the road when the tournament opens on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lipscomb could host a quarterfinal game if it advances past the first and second rounds.
NIT bracketologist John Templon has Lipscomb paired with East Tennessee State in the first round. If that matchup occurred, the game would likely be in Johnson City instead of Nashville.
Battle of the Boulevard rematch on the docket?
Belmont handed the Bisons an 87-83 defeat at Allen Arena on Nov. 15 and followed it with another 76-74 victory on Dec. 4 to complete the season sweep.
Should the Bruins be left out of the Big Dance, there’s a chance that Lipscomb and Belmont meet in the second or third round of the NIT. The NIT selection committee often tries to create matchups that make geographical sense.
Both teams clinched automatic NIT berths by being co-champions of their leagues in the regular season.
Final Allen Arena attendance numbers
5,607 fans attended the ASUN title game to set a new Allen Arena attendance record.
That raised Lipscomb’s season average to 2,374 fans per game – a 59 percent increase from the 2017-18 season, when the Bisons averaged 1,495 fans.
40,366 total fans passed through Allen Arena’s gates over Lipscomb’s 17 home games this season.
Mathews named to USBWA All-District team
Lipscomb senior Garrison Mathews was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District IV team last Tuesday.
Mathews was named the ASUN Player of the Year after leading the conference with 20.1 points per game. The guard also had 5.1 rebounds per game and became the school’s all-time leading scorer in its NCAA Division I era with 2,350 career points.
The All-District IV team is comprised of players from Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Mathews is the first Lipscomb player to ever earn USBWA All-District honors.
Tennessee’s Rick Barnes was named the district’s Coach of the Year. The rest of the team included: Grant Williams (Tennessee), Tyler Herro (Kentucky), Ja Morant (Murray State), Jordan Nwora (Louisville), Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), Breein Tyree (Ole Miss), PJ Washington (Kentucky), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State) and Dylan Windler (Belmont).