Belmont Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Belmont Bruins
Ohio Valley (22-10, 11-5)


The Belmont Bruins are back in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the past five years. After making the big dance three straight seasons from 2011 through 2013, Belmont missed the cut last year. However, it wasn’t to be held down for long. Despite being outclassed by Murray State during the Ohio Valley regular season, Belmont took down the conference’s top team in tournament play to gain an automatic berth in the NCAAs. The next step for the Bruins is to now win a postseason game. The team is 0-6 in its tournament history.

Big Wins: 11/22 at Western Kentucky (64-63), 2/19 Eastern Kentucky (66-61), 3/7 vs Murray State (88-87)
Bad Losses: 12/11 Wright State (71-79), 2/7 at Morehead State (71-73), 2/11 at Jacksonville State (70-72)
Coach: Rick Byrd

Why They Can Surprise:
Three Bruins players led the way this season in scoring for a team that shot 47.6 percent from the floor overall, good for a top 30 mark nationally. Craig Bradshaw was the go-to guy. This season, he led the team in minutes and points per game, finishing with an 18.1 PPG average. Like his teammates, he also scored efficiently, shooting 49 percent from the floor and over 41 percent from three. Evan Bradds, second on Belmont in scoring at 14.3 PPG, was the perfect complementary guard, shooting nearly 70 percent this season on mostly all twos. He also led the team in rebounding from the guard position. The third of the double-figure scoring trio was Taylor Barnette, the Bruins’ leading three-point scorer and the man who hit the game-winner to vanquish Murray State in the Ohio Valley conference tournament. Overall, Belmont scores often and shoots well thanks to a pristine assist rate and the fifth-highest three-point rate in the country. It’s that type of limitless range that makes it a threat to upset anybody on any given night.

Why They Can Disappoint:
If the threes aren’t falling, this team is in trouble. Belmont is a very small team with Nick Smith and Amanze Egekeze being the only players over 6-6 who play heavy minutes, and even they are three-point gunners who don’t bang bodies. Belmont is poor defensively, lacking size to block shots or even disrupt opponents’ shooting. It also forces few turnovers while not taking care of the basketball on its own end, leading to a negative turnover differential for the season. The Bruins shoot the ball well for sure, but they also allow the other team to shoot it almost as well, giving up a 45.2 field-goal percentage on the defensive end, one of the worst marks in the nation. Belmont is also sneakily poor from the foul line, a surprise for a good shooting team and something that can come back to bite them in a close postseason game. It didn’t factor into the Ohio Valley championship game as the two teams combined for just 21 total free throws. In high-scoring shootouts, Belmont always gives itself a chance to win. Unfortunately, it routinely gives the other team just as good of a chance.

Probable Starters:
Reece Chamberlain, Senior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 6.1 apg, 5.5 rpg
Taylor Barnette, Sophomore, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 1.3 apg
Craig Bradshaw, Junior, Guard, 18.1 ppg, 3.2 apg
Evan Bradds, Sophomore, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg
Amanze Egekeze, Freshman, Forward, 5.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Nick Smith, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Holden Mobley, Senior, Forward, 1.2 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.5 (32nd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.3 (275, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.6 (27, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.2 (291, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.0 (5, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.2 (45, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.1 (176, 6)
Rebound Margin: 0.6 (172, 5)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (26, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (278, 9)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NIT    First Round win over Green Bay
2014    NIT    Second Round win over Robert Morris
2014    NIT    Regional Final loss to Clemson
2013    NCAA    Second Round loss to Arizona
2012    NCAA    Second Round loss to Georgetown
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Wisconsin
2009    CIT    First Round win over Evansville
2009    CIT    Second Round loss to Old Dominion
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Duke
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Georgetown
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to UCLA

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules