Blog Entry

Tiny Dancers: Belmont Bruins

Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:35 pm
For the fifth time in seven years, Belmont will play in the NCAA tournament on behalf of the Atlantic Sun. Rick Byrd's had 20 wins with this team in seven of the past nine years, and get this, only Kansas and Belmont have had 12 league wins or more every year for 10 years. The Bruins are leaving the Atlantic Sun on top.

Yep, that's right. After establishing itself as the premier program in the conference, Belmont will head off to join Murray State in the Ohio Valley in 2012-13. Bruin fans chanted "OVC! OVC! OVC!" upon Belmont's bid-clinching 83-69 win over Florida Gulf Coast Saturday, which amounts to the most unlikely chant this weekend we will have this weekend. It's also the saddest. It should be interesting to see how the OVC shapes itself in the coming years. It's possible, even likely, Belmont won't find this success again soon. Prior to 2006, the program had never been to the NCAAs.

Let's get our focus back to this year. Does Belmont stand its best chance at March success? That's arguable. The team's really fun, and terrific on offense -- but not so much on defense. I think last year's 30-5 Bruins team was a better one, but this group has three seniors and three juniors who get significant playing time, so that could accrue to tangible growth. It's all a matter of matchups. What you should know: Belmont is dangerous and likely to be a chic upset pick. Despite being a weak rebounding team, they don't turn the ball over and are fairly staunch in their man-to-man defense.

Byrd is a good tactician as a coach, and they'll no doubt have wrinkles ready for whatever team they face. It's hard to see Belmont getting blown out in its first game.

Player to know: Kerron Johnson. Johnson is the speedy guard who takes on the biggest load for the Bruins. He scores more than 1.2 points per possesion -- only 5-11 Drew Hanlen equals that for Belmont -- and with a 63-percent true shooting percentage, he's in the top one percent of college basketball shooters. He led the team with 14.1 points and 5.2 assists per game. Not a lot of guys can check his ability, although he does have a few unforced turnovers each game.

The Bruins are back again. Will this be their breakthrough year in the NCAAs? (AP)

The Vitals:
  • Record: 26-7 overall, 16-2 in Atlantic Sun
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2011, No. 10 seed, lost 72-58 to Wisconsin.
  • We’re thinking: 13 seed
  • KenPom ranking: 25
  • Sagarin ranking: 33
  • RPI: 60
  • Best wins: at Middle Tennessee State, vs. Marshall
  • Worst losses: Home against Lipscomb, at Miami (OH)
  • Notable stat: Belmont shoots 55.8 percent from the field in effective field goal percentage, which weights 3-point shots correctly. That percentage is the fifth-best in the country. The Bruins can score from everywhere.
-- Matt Norlander
Category: NCAAB

Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:47 pm

Tiny Dancers: Belmont Bruins

Before you get too huffy with the stats, keep in mind that Belmont's current RPI is 60 and Tennessee's is 81.  Regarding common opponents...Belmont lost by one at Duke, while Tennessee lost by 10 at home.  Tennessee beat ETSU by three at home, while Belmont beat ETSU three times by an average of 14 (twice on the road).  Belmont beat Austin Peay, Tennessee loses to Austin Peay.  All this with a fraction of the resources Tennessee has at their disposal.   Now...the good news for Tennessee is, based on your evalution of how they're playing currently, they should have no problem going deep into the SEC tournament and getting at least an at large bid.  So, no need to blame Belmont or any other mid-major if the Vols don't get in. 

Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:13 am

Tiny Dancers: Belmont Bruins

Belmont's strength of schedule ranks considerably better than any of the teams in the OVC...granted, those conference numbers are not impressive either. But what top tier, D1 coach (in their right mind) wants to see Belmont in their non-conference schedule or in the same bracket when March rolls around.  After two, one-point wins over the Belmont, ask Mike Krzyzewski if he ever wants to see the Bruins in Cameron or in the NCAA tournamentt?  Belmont isn't an NBA training hatchery, but they ARE a great model for what college basketball should be. Go Bruins!

Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2012 9:52 am

Tiny Dancers: Belmont Bruins

They won their conference tournament you f'in idiot.  

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:00 am

Tiny Dancers: Belmont Bruins

whats thier SOS??  im guessin near 100.  No way they make it over my VOLS who have at least 4 wins over teams going to the Tourney..No way....if so...BULLSHIT  fuckin bullshit...i tell VOLS have done some work over the last 5 weeks winning 8 of 9. New player added and more wins since.  Give them a chance.   They have the teamwork and coaching to be the last 2 years Butler....GO VOLS!!

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