Can Blackbirds Bust up Bracket Friday night in Columbus? Their Head Coach Says ‘Why Not’

Robert Morris started it up with a win over Indiana State in the College Insider Tournament on Tuesday night, and now LIU Brooklyn looks to take it to the next level.

The postseason continues in NEC men’s hoops on Friday night with the conference champion Blackbirds making their second straight NCAA Second Round appearance.

Jim Ferry’s Blackbirds, which played Roy Williams’ Tar Heels to a 102-87 final as a No. 15 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, will try to land a breakthrough victory against Tom Izzo’s No. 1 seed Michigan State Spartans during their latest trip to the Big Dance.

A LIU win, which would send shockwaves through the college hoops world, would be considered a “breakthrough” victory for two key reasons. 

First, the Northeast Conference, whose last NCAA Tournament victory came courtesy of Mount St. Mary’s in 2008, has never seen one of its members win a non-Opening Round NCAA game.

Secondly, no No. 16 seed has ever defeated a No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament play.  Entering the

2012 Big Dance, 16 seeds carried a 0-108 record in all-time matchups with 1 seeds.

Obviously, the odds are stacked against LIU Brooklyn, but Ferry has a different view of the whole situation. 

Speaking to a number of media outlets in a number of different forums over the past few days, the New York-born head coach has mentioned that the day when a 16 seed beats a 1 seed will eventually come.

Of course, Ferry would love to see it come sooner rather than later. In fact, he thinks Friday night would be perfect.

In a radio interview with Mike Francesa on New York’s sports radio flagship WFAN 660 AM, Ferry said “A 16 seed is bound to win one of these days, so why not us?” 

Whether, or not, he intended to take one from Bobby Kennedy’s playbook (ie “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”), Ferry posed a question that has inspired Americans to greatness throughout the ages – Why not?.

Now, please don’t think We here at Overtime! are getting carried away.  We are not suggesting Ferry has a future career as a philosopher, or even an Irish playwright for that matter (remember the aforementioned “Some men see things…” quote originally came from George Bernard Shaw).

There is no disputing, however, that LIU’s Long Island-born head coach raised a fair point when he posed that rhetorical question to the listeners of WFAN’s“Mike’s On” and then repeated it in various interviews throughout the week.

It has to happen eventually; so WHY NOT Friday night in Columbus?


Almost Time for Tip-off…
No. 16 LIU Brooklyn (25-8)
No. 1 Michigan State (27-7)

Friday, March 16, 9:20 pm on TBS



Will LIU fans have a reason to recreate this scene Friday night in Columbus?





LIU-Michigan State Matchup Analysis
The mid-major Northeast Conference champion and the BCS Big Ten Conference winner will clash before a primetime TV audience Friday night in Columbus.  In a game set to air on TBS beginning at 9:20 pm EST, one of the nation’s top-scoring teams will meet what is one of the country’s top defensive teams year in and year out. The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds average 81.9 points per game, a mark that places them third in all of NCAA Division I.  Meanwhile, the Michigan State Spartans, who have thrived playing a well-coached blue-collar brand of basketball in the Big Ten, have held opponents under 60 points per contest this season.  MSU’s scoring defense (59.1 ppg allowed) ranks 12th overall on the national leader board.

It’s assumed that the high-flying, run-and-gun Blackbirds would prefer to pull Michigan State into a track meet type of game.  Still, LIU should beware that the Spartans have a knack for getting easy hoops whether it’s in the half-court set or transition.

Michigan State, whose biggest contributor is 6-foot-7 PF Draymond Green (16.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg), plays a physical brand of basketball, but in terms of physical size, the mid-major Blackbirds should be able to match up well.  LIU has the 6-foot-7 Julian Boyd (NEC Player of the Year), whose arms may very well have been chiseled out of stone, up front as well as 6-foot-7 athletic swingman Jamal Olasewere (2011 NEC Tournament MVP).

Overtime!’s X-Factor
LIU will likely need to put forth a prime shooting effort in order to pull off the upset, especially from beyond the arc.  That means senior sharp shooter Michael Culpo can help out the cause provided his hand stays hot in Columbus.  Culpo, who was 2-for-4 from downtown in last year’s NCAA loss to UNC, has the ability to knock down four or five in a row. Believe it or not, Boyd, whose outside shot has improved dramatically during his college years, can be a factor from long distance as well.  He stepped out and hit two key 3’s during the 2012 NEC Championship game victory over Robert Morris.

Overtime!’s Prediction
Since this Blog is for the fans, we will leave the guessing to you.


Related Stories
LIU takes on Michigan State tonightNew York Post (Brian Lewis)

LIU-Brooklyn learns lesson from a year ago…New York Daily News (Sean Brennan)

‘We respect Michigan State, but we aren’t afraid of anybody’Detroit Free Press (Shawn Windsor)

Blackbird Success Is Feathering LIU Nest on Eve of NCAA TourneyNew York Times ‘The Local’

LIU-Brooklyn Draws No. 1 MSU in Opening RoundBrooklyn Daily Eagle (John Torenli)

Blogger’s Take…
Michigan State vs. LIU Preview — Questions with Big Apple Buckets – The Only Colors (Pete Rossman)


– Mar. 16, 2012 –

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