Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

2023 Field of 68 Capsule

FAU Begins Field of 68 Classic With Matchup Against Liberty

What: #13 FAU (5-1) vs. Liberty (6-0) | Charleston (3-3)

When: Thu. Nov. 30th, @ 6:00 PM | Sat. Dec 2nd, @ 6:00 PM

Where: The Burrow - Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena

Series: This is the Owls' third matchup against the Flames, currently tied 1-1 all-time. Charleston is undefeated against FAU with a 9-0 record.

TV Both Games: ESPNU

Radio Both Games: FoxSports 640

Live Stats Both Games: Here

Lines: Liberty FAU -6.5 | Charleston FAU -16

FAU at a Glance

Offense - 83 PPG, 49% FG, 38% 3PT

Defense - 68 PPGA, 42% FGA, 31% 3PTA

Rebounding - 37 RPG Owls, 34 RPG Opponents

Owl Notables

Magic was in the air for FAU when they showed college basketball observers why they are one of the best teams in the country. They beat noteworthy competition in Butler, nationally-ranked Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech en route to winning the ESPN Invitational at Disney World in Orlando.

With that momentum, and recently going up six spots to be the 13th-ranked squad in the nation according to the latest AP Top 25 Poll, they now move on to hosting the inaugural round-robin tournament known as the Field of 68 Classic. This involves FAU who will first face Liberty and then Charleston a few days later, as this will be a recurring theme for the three programs for the next couple of years.

Their matchup against Liberty will be the first in over two decades that they have taken on the Flames, last falling 84-79 on the road at Virginia back in December 2002.

The Owls averaged 90.3 points per game and closed with a 34-point win over the Hokies (84-50) in the invitational championship. Alijah Martin led the way as he is starting to regain his form from last season at the right time, being named the MVP after averaging 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and two assists on a 43.2% clip (38.5% from three) throughout the tournament.

FAU's perimeter game continues to showcase a lot of strengths and development. Brandon Weatherspoon (pictured via Bob Markey II) is a solid example of a player using his lengthy wingspan and shooting stroke to make himself effective, scoring nine points per game on career-highs in field-goal shooting at 54.3% and three-point shooting at 41.7%.

With no one on Liberty being taller than 6-foot-7 who has a key role in the rotation, keep an eye on Vladislav Goldin to have a standout performance. He ranks fifth in the nation in field goal percentage at 72.7 percent. He grabs 6.3 rebounds per game, so it would be reasonable to have him on double-double watch.

After this round-robin tournament, FAU will return to the Empire State for the first time since last season during March Madness when they encounter Illinois on November 5th at 6:30 PM for the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Liberty Team Site: Here

Liberty at a Glance

Offense - 86 PPG, 53% FG, 42% 3PT

Defense - 61 PPGA, 41% FGA, 27% 3PTA

Rebounding - 38 RPG, 28 RPG Opponents

Flame Notables

Blowing out opponents left and right, Liberty looks free-flowing with their 6-0 start to the season.

Taking down the 2023 CBI Champions in the Charlotte 49ers, then a team who exceeded expectations in the NCAA Tournament in Furman, and handling Wichita State and Vermont without much difficult, the Flames have shown they will be tough to extinguish.

Outscoring teams by 25, ranking in the top 10 nationally (tied-6th), Liberty are skilled on both sides of the ball. Not only do they have a top 30 offense (26th) that puts up 85.8 points, they also possess a strong defense that only gives up 60.8 per game (tied-21st). They do particularly well in defending the perimeter, allowing just 27.1% (44th) of their opponents' three-pointers to go in.

Kyle Rode stands out as their best player. The forward is averaging 16.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, three assists, and 1.3 steals on 48.5% shooting from the field and an elite 48.8% from three (tied-15th).

The Flames also have a spark plug off the bench in guard Brody Peebles, who is putting up 14.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and an assist at a 55.7% clip overall and 43.3% from downtown. Contesting the Flames' shots, which their 53.1% accuracy places them in the top 10 of the country (7th), would be key to the Owls pulling away with the win on Thursday.

When the Field of 68 Classic ends, Liberty will return home to Lynchburg to take on Mississippi Valley State on December 5th at 7:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Charleston Team Site: Here

Charleston at a Glance

Offense - 72 PPG, 39% FG, 27% 3PT

Defense - 75 PPGA, 45% FGA, 34% 3PTA

Rebounding - 39 RPG, 37 RPG Opponents

Cougar Notables

Coming off a remarkable 31-4 campaign last season that featured them competing with national runner-ups San Diego State until the end during the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Charleston hasn't been able to create that type of momentum to start the campaign.

Opening the season with a win over 2023 NCAA Tournament participants Iona, the Cougars lost three straight to Duquesne, Vermont, and Wyoming. They have bounced back with recent victories over Coastal Carolina and Kent State, but will still need to persevere through the ups and down as the season goes on.

A key weakness of the Cougars is their ability of make shots consistently. They are making just 38.6% of their field-goal attempts (15th-worst), a significant regression from the 43.6% clip they had the prior year. This has carried over to their three-point shooting, only converting 27.1% of their shots (30th-worst). Putting constant pressure on the Cougars' would be beneficial for the Owls having a strong performance on the defensive side of the ball.

No one on Charleston is scoring over 12 points per game. Leading scorer Reyne Smith is averaging 11.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists but is doing so on 37% shooting from the field. He has done well from beyond the arc despite his overall shooting woes, making 16 of his 45 attempts, so FAU needs to be careful when the ball is in his hands.

Expect Charleston to crash the boards frequently. They grab 38.5 rebounds per contest, with four of their players getting at least four each. Keeping them from getting transition buckets or second-chance opportunities is an area that FAU must have covered.

When the Field of 68 is over, Charleston will come back home to South Carolina as they host Rhode Island on December 10th at 2:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on Flohoops.

Related content