Team preview: Liberty

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Liberty finished second in the Big South standings a year ago, but the Flames were flickering down the stretch. Fourth-year coach Randy Dunton thinks he knows how to reignite the 2004 conference champs.

"Liberty basketball this year is all about defense and rebounding," said Dunton, who thought both areas were suspect on last year's 13-15 squad.

The Flames yielded 74.4 points a game last year, seven more than the year before when they hoisted a championship trophy. Their rebound margin dipped from plus 2.2 per game to minus 0.5. Those numbers start to add up when you consider Liberty lost six games by six points or less.

But if the Flames can reverse those trends, they'll do it with a bunch of new faces playing key roles and some old hands chipping in more than they did last year.