Belmont Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Belmont Bruins
Ohio Valley (26-6, 14-2)

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Belmont made the move to the Ohio Valley Conference and proceeded to win their first ten conference games. The streak ended when the Bruins made the trip to Murray, Kentucky and fell to the Racers. Coach Rick Byrd always seems to have a veteran team and this year is no different. There is just one underclassman that sees the floor in the Bruins usual eight man rotation. This is a team that has plenty of experience, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament, and they are good enough to make a bit of noise in March.

Big Wins: 11/18 at Stanford (70-62), 12/13 Middle Tennessee (64-49), 2/23 Ohio (81-62)
Bad Losses: 11/23 vs Northeastern (71-74), 2/7 at Murray State (74-79), 2/14 at Tennessee State (69-80)
Coach: Rick Byrd (14 seasons at Belmont)

Why They Can Surprise:
If Belmont is to win a game or two, they must make shots. Fortunately, that is what this team does best. The Bruins rank in the top 25 nationally in field-goal percentage, three-point field goals per game and three-point field-goal percentage. Senior guard Ian Clark can take credit for most of those numbers. He knocks down 46.3 percent, which is good enough for third in the nation, of his 6.7 three-point attempts per contest. Clark is the offensive catalyst for Belmont, but he is also a great defender. The starting five also has quality shooters in wing J.J. Mann and forward Trevor Noack. Reece Chamberlain is the most dangerous shooter off of the bench and has had some outings where he has sparked the offense. In fact, everybody on the Belmont roster is a threat to shoot from long range and that is extremely difficult to defend. On the other end of the floor, the Bruins force a slew of turnovers. With Kerron Johnson joining Clark and Mann on the perimeter, the starting backcourt averages nearly six steals per game.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Belmont’s strengths lead directly to their weaknesses. A team that shoots so many three-pointers generally is small and has trouble rebounding. The rebounding problems are not just due to the overall team size, but also because of the long rebounds that come with outside shooting. Noack, at 6-7 and 240 pounds, is the biggest player in the regular rotation. Fellow starter in the frontcourt, Blake Jenkins, is 6-7 and 210 pounds. Those two are tough players and Jenkins can block a few shots, but they can only do so much against bigger and strong opponents. Coach Byrd is happy to lose a few possessions on the glass as long as his team can make up for it with a positive turnover margin. But in March the margin for error is going to be very, very small and Belmont will have to make shots, win the turnover battle and at least hold their own on the glass.

Probable Starters:
Kerron Johnson, Senior, Guard, 13.7 ppg, 4.8 apg
Ian Clark, Senior, Guard, 18.1 ppg, 2.5 apg
J.J. Mann, Junior, Guard, 10.5 ppg, 2.6 apg, 4.7 rpg
Blake Jenkins, Junior, Forward, 9.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Trevor Noack, Senior, Forward, 12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Brandon Baker, Senior, Forward, 3.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Craig Bradshaw, Freshman, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Adam Barnes, Senior, Guard, 1.0 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (16th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (109, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.4 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.0 (92, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (13, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.6 (21, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.3 (45, 4)
Rebound Margin: -0.8 (207, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (18, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (194, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
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

*all team stats through 3/10


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