Sports

LIU — March Madness schedule

LIU — March Madness schedule

Labeled as a "First Four" matchup, the victor of this game will be rewarded with the No. 16 seed in the East Regional bracket and meet No. 1 Villanova.

A Radford Highlanders cheerleader performs during the first half of the First Four game between the Radford Highlanders and the Long Island Blackbirds in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 13, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio.

How they make a run: Although it is extremely unlikely that the Blackbirds make any sort of noise in the tournament, perhaps the dynamic duo of Clark and Hernandez catch fire offensively, as they did in the Northeast Conference championship game.

BOTTOM LINE: Northeast Conference Tournament victor LIU-Brooklyn makes its first appearance in the tournament in five years.

St. Bonaventure has a fairly proud tradition for a program that has not won an NCAA tournament game since Bob Lanier led the Bonnies to the 1970 Final Four.

The victor gets No. 1 Villanova on Thursday.

More news: Kirk Cousins, Vikings look to be nearing agreement

The bench - and it was a deep one led by Travis Fields Jr. and Martinsville's Devonnte Holland - outscored LIU Brooklyn's bench 27-7 and played a major role in post defense in the Highlanders' 71-61 victory in the First Four opener on Tuesday. He's scored 21, 31, 22, 19 and 26 points in the last five games.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: After finishing sixth in the Big South last season, Radford, in southwestern Virginia, was picked in preseason polls to finish near the bottom of the conference again.

TOP SCORERS: LIU-Brooklyn has four starters in double figures, led by Joel Hernandez (20.8 points per game).

"It was a lot of laying the bricks for seven years, laying the foundation", head coach Mike Jones said on the truTV broadcast following the victory. When looking at how many favorites have been knocked out in the first round as a No. 2 seed, it's only a matter of time before a No. 16 seed pulls off the unthinkable by becoming the first team to finally earn a win.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.