My alma mater, the Lee U Flames men’s basketball team of the NAIA (that’s not a typo, we really are the Flames) had their best regular season in school history going 31-1 with a solitary loss to Auburn-Montgomery. Included in those 31 wins was a stunning win against the NCAA Div 1 Pirates of East Carolina, possibly the biggest win in our school’s history. East Carolina beat North Carolina State. On January 19 of this year, NC State beat my favorite team, the Miami Hurricanes.
At 2:00 PM today, the Canes (20-9) square off for a rematch against the NC State Wolfpack. Miami’s loss to NC State was in the regular season and was in OT. With a win, the Canes will pretty much secure a bid in the NCAA Tourney with a good chance at a 9 or 8 seed; a loss puts them in a weaker position and maybe on the bubble.
How would Lee fair against the Miami Hurricanes? My guess is that if the ball bounced right and the Flames were on fire, they might only lose by about 20 points. Some people have speculated that Lee can no longer continue to expand and grow the program without switching to NCAA, perhaps a very low division. In time, some expect Lee to be the next ORU, a Christian university competing with the big boys in college basketball and baseball. While I was a student, Lee was good but certainly not as good as they are this year. The Flames have a real shot at their first NAIA national championship this year, entering the tournament as the #2 seeded team.
Update: The Hurricanes beat NCSU 63-50. This totally locks up the tournament invite for the Hurricanes. I am guessing that Miami is a 9 seed.