#89 Belmont Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Belmont Bruins
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #89
Conference Rank: #2 Ohio Valley
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Last season Belmont did not win a regular season conference title. That was the first time since 2008-2009, dating back to the Atlantic Sun days. The Bruins finished with a 15-3 record in Ohio Valley play, but that was one game behind Murray State. Fans of the Bruins should not be worried though. Coach Rick Byrd knows how to win games and he has another talented group to work with. However, Murray State is a very good team too and it should be another exciting race in the OVC.
2017-18 Record: 24-9, 15-3
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Rick Byrd
Coach Record: 686-342 at Belmont, 778-397 overall
Key Departed Players:
Amanze Egekeze, Forward, 16.8 ppg
Austin Luke, Guard, 9.2 ppg
Tyler Hadden, Center, 4.2 ppg
Burton Sampson, Guard, 1.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Dylan Windler, Senior, Guard/Forward, 17.3 ppg
Kevin McClain, Senior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Nick Hopkins, Sophomore, Guard, 7.4 ppg
Mack Mercer, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg
Seth Adelsperger, Junior, Center, 2.6 ppg
Michael Benkert, Junior, Guard, 0.7 ppg
Key New Players:
Caleb Hollander, RS Freshman, Forward
Adam Kunkel, Freshman, Guard
Mitch Listau, Freshman, Guard
Michael Mayernick, Freshman, Guard
Grayson Murphy, RS Freshman, Guard
Nick Muszynski, Freshman, Center
Tate Pierson, Freshman, Guard
Derek Sabin, Freshman, Forward
The return of 6-7 wing Dylan Windler gives Belmont hope. He led the team with 17.3 points and 9.3 rebounds and can score from anywhere on the floor. Kevin McClain can do plenty of scoring too. He averaged 12.6 points per game as a junior and could be an even more dangerous secondary scorer with more consistency with his outside shot. Sophomore guard Nick Hopkins is a dangerous shooter and senior forward Mack Mercer is an experienced option in the paint. Those four are a great nucleus to build around, but Coach Byrd will have to rely on some new faces to provide depth. Mitch Listau could be the most important of the bunch. The versatile guard could help replace the lost production of point guard Austin Luke, who dished out 7.5 assists per game during his senior season. If this team struggles to find a ball handler, another second place finish in the OVC is quite likely.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.8 (113th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.7 (133, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.3 (47, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (231, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.5 (13, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 41.3 (5, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.9 (9, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (184, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (61, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (107, 2)