Liberty survives 0-8 start, A&T avoids 16th straight losing season, to get to First Four game

When Liberty lost its first eight games and was 10-20 late in the season, almost no one was a believer — at least in basketball — at the evangelical Christian school.

But coach Dale Layer said that every year a team finds that the glass slipper fits in March. So he asked his team, "Why can't it be us?"

Five victories and a Big South title later, the Flames (15-20) are the unlikeliest of NCAA teams heading into their First Four game on Tuesday night against North Carolina A&T.

The Aggies (18-16) have their own Cinderella story. They also had a sub.-500 record heading into their conference tournament — and the program was close to a 16th consecutive losing season — before grabbing an automatic NCAA bid.