The Byrd Cage

Previewing USC-Upstate: Part 2

In Game Posts on February 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

The 2011-2012 Belmont Basketball season is a bust. The team has already doubled their number of conference losses from the 2010-2011 season. Never mind the fact they only lost one conference game last year.

Any Belmont fan, player or coach hates losing to Lipscomb, but it’s a bitter rivalry and one of those “throw out the record books” type games.

The same could not be said for the USC Upstate rivalry primarily because it is not a rivalry. Going into their January 21st contest against the Spartans, Belmont owned an eight game winning streak against Upstate. The record now stands at 8-1 after a 79-78 loss in Spartanburg on January 21st.

I was not there so it’s hard for me to say with any certainty what the cause of the loss was but the numbers can tell us a little bit. Let me give you Belmont’s stat spread against SCUS; in other words, this is how Belmont compared to Upstate in each statistical category: -5 in field goal %, -9 in 3pt %, -7 free throws attempted, -4 Rebounds, -3 steals, -5 blocks and +5 in turnovers. I think most informed basketball fans could deduce that Belmont had lost that game based on those spreads alone. Whatever the reason, Belmont was off that day.

Three other points jump out at me. First, although USCU attempted seven more free throws, Belmont shot a much better percentage going 17-20 compared with USCU’s 18-27. Why the Bruins did not get to  the line much more, especially late, the world may never know. Second, Kerron had a good game, which is to say, Kerron did what Kerron does going 6-8 from the field and 6-8 from the line for 18 points and 8 assists. And finally, Drew Hanlen attempted only three shots. He made two of them, but he only shot three times. I would argue that the team that took the court on January 21st in Spartangburg, is completely different from the one taking the court tonight in Nashville. And that change begins with Drew Hanlen.

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few weeks, you are least somewhat familiar with Linsanity – actually it should be #Linsanity. Jeremy Lin has brought new life to the New York Knicks. Over the past five games, Drew Hanlen has done the same for Belmont.

During this stretch Hanlen is averaging 16ppg, 54.5% from the field, 57.1 from 3-point range and 4.8 made three pointers per game. Combine that with Blake “The Freak” Jenkins’ 11.7ppg, 61.2 from the field and 84.3 from the line over the last six games and it is easy to see the difference a month can make. Blake also recorded his first double-double on Saturday night with 12 points and 12 rebounds. I have a feeling that will be a regular occurrence next season.


6-6 Sophomore forward Torrey Craig

For tonight’s game you need to know two names: Torrey Craig and Ty Green. They are the only two players on the Spartan squad that average 30+ minutes per game and double digit points. Although Craig leads his team in rebounds, he is also third in the conference in three point attempts and tenth in the conference in 3pt%.

One additional note: Upstate has a 6’10 center named Aru Kok who does not play. I am not sure if he is redshirted or injured but he has not played at all. So, like Saturday night against ETSU, the tallest man on the floor for the opponent will be 6’8”.

The Bruins have played well over the last month but as Steven pointed out earlier, they still need to elevate their game. The Bruins need to not only win tonight, they need to dominate in order to make for a game a month ago that just got away from them.
-Matt Sherrill

Tip-Off is at 7:00 at the Curb Event Center

  1. Hope Drew gets a better senior night bump than Johnny Rice did..

  2. johnny rice is a saint!

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