Belmont Men's Basketball 2017 NIT Tournament Capsule


Belmont Bruins

Ohio Valley (22-6, 15-1)

Belmont has been amazingly consistent during Coach Rick Byrd’s long tenure. Even when the Bruins are having a bad year it seems like they still always win 20 games and at least go to some postseason tournament or another. This has not been a bad year. Belmont absolutely dominated the Ohio Valley Conference. After starting 4-4 in non-conference action, the Bruins went 18-1 to wrap up the regular season with a 15-1 conference record.
Big Wins: 12/6 at Lipscomb (78-76), 1/5 Tennessee-Martin (83-67), 1/28 at Tennessee State (93-76)
Bad Losses: 12/14 Middle Tennessee (66-79), 2/11 at Tennessee Tech (70-83), 3/3 vs Jacksonville State (59-65)
Coach: Rick Byrd
Why They Can Surprise:
As usual, Belmont shares the ball very well and shoots it even better. Austin Luke has stepped into the starting point guard role and dished out an impressive 7.1 assists per game. He has done a superb job of putting his teammates in a position to score and he can do some scoring of his own. Luke will take most of his shots from long range, but he has not been particularly consistent. At the least he is a threat to shoot and that opens up space for him to attack the basket and find one of his teammates. Nick Smith and forward Amanze Egekeze have been the more consistent outside shooters. Taylor Barnette will take plenty of three-pointers too, but does bring down the team’s three-point shooting percentage. Inside the arc, Evan Bradds is one of the most efficient shooters in the country. The 6-7 senior averages 20.6 points per game and shoots an impressive 63.4 percent from the floor. That is not as good as last year when he shot 71.2 percent, but still really good.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Belmont is a fundamentally solid team. They do not have a shot blocker, but they will not go for steals so the defense will be tough even though the opposition can get some easy buckets if they can manage to get into the paint. This is not a big team or a deep team either and that will cause some problems going forward. Having a player like 6-7 wing Dylan Windler helps, especially in the rebounding department, but bigger and stronger teams will be able to be productive with their back to the basket. For Belmont, they will need to keep the defensive intensity up and knock down three-pointers to pull off an upset.
Probable Starters:
Austin Luke, Junior, Guard, 8.0 ppg, 7.1 apg
Taylor Barnette, Senior, Guard, 11.4 ppg, 1.8 apg
Dylan Windler, Sophomore, Guard, 9.0 ppg, 1.7 apg, 6.3 rpg
Evan Bradds, Senior, Forward, 20.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Amanze Egekeze, Junior, Forward, 11.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Key Role Players:
Nick Smith, Senior, Forward, 9.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Kevin McClain, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 ppg, 1.1 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.4 (85th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.2 (99, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.3 (38, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (111, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.0 (10, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.8 (238, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.9 (16, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.8 (95, 5)
Assists Per Game: 16.1 (37, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (126, 4)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2016    NIT     First Round loss to Georgia
2015    NCAA            Round of 64  loss to Virginia
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            Round of 64 loss to Arizona
2012    NCAA            Round of 64 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 3/5