It was a banner season for Long Island, as the team finished with the second-highest win total in program history and their highest since the 1936-37 season. Their reward is a 15-seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Led by NEC Coach of the Year Jim Ferry, the Blackbirds won the conference regular season championship and posted a road record of 13-3, the highest total for road wins in the country this season. LIU capped off one of the most successful seasons in school history with a thrilling 85-82 overtime win over two-time defending NEC champ Robert Morris in the conference championship game, sending the Blackbirds to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997, when the program was led by the nation's leading scorer, Charles Jones.
Record: 27-5 (16-2)
Key Wins: 83-67 at Robert Morris, January 20th: This game established LIU as a legitimate contender in the Northeast Conference, as the Blackbirds handed the two-time defending conference champion Colonials a convincing loss at home. The win was the team's eighth-straight win and sixth consecutive NEC win, their longest conference winning streak in 13 years.
84-74 vs Quinnipiac, February 5th: LIU completely outplayed a Bobcats team that would ultimately finish as the No. 2 seed in the conference. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak against Quinnipiac for the Blackbirds.
Key Losses: 86-71 at St. Francis (PA), January 22nd: Not a devastating loss by any means, as the Red Flash ultimately finished with a 10-8 record and fifth-place standing in the conference, but the defeat snapped an eight-game winning streak. Incredibly enough, this was the lone blemish on Long Island's schedule after December 13th.
Key Player: Julian Boyd, Sophomorge, Forward: The six-foot-seven native of San Antonio was a First-Team All-NEC selection after redshirting last year due to a congenital heart condition. The former conference Rookie of the Year averaged team highs in points (13.1) and rebounds (9), producing an offensive rating of 112.8 and proving to be an elite offensive rebounder.
See the full printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.
For more NCAA Tournament coverage of the Long Island Blackbirds, please visit SB Nation Mid-Major Madness.