The Byrd Cage

Belmont’s OVC Introduction.

In Game Posts on January 7, 2013 at 11:04 am



I cannot think of any better place for the Bruins to start their run in the Ohio Valley Conference than Jacksonville State. Incredible venue. Sterling crowd. And great production by the OVC Digital Network. The fun continued in the lively city of Cookeville. We can spend the next couple paragraphs refuting the previous statements or we can just move on- so let’s take the wins and move on. Here are some of my thoughts on the opening weekend of OVC play:


The Three Point Barrage


The Bruins had been struggling from deep in recent weeks. The Bruin’s top shooters by attempts are Ian and J.J. with 169 between the two of them. They both started the season on fire. In the first eight games of the season, Ian was hitting 58.3 percent of his three point attempts. That is a crazy high percentage. Likewise, J.J. also started off the season on an equally hot note. In his first 5 contests, he was hitting 54.5 percent of his attempts from deep. After hot starts from these sharp shooters, both were in the midst of a cold streak entering conference play. Ian was in a 6 game slump only hitting 22.9 percent while J.J. spent the last nine games around 23 percent. It is never fun to watch guys like this go through slumps. However a trip to Cookeville seemed to straighten these guys out. The two combined to hit 10 of the Bruins 13 threes in a blowout win against a helpless looking Tech team. The start of conference play, especially on the road, is a nice place for an offense to find some rhythm. I mean heck, even freshman Jeff Laidig hit a three! You don’t think that is a big deal? The kid had thrown up 14 threes in his college career without making one. Good for you, Jeff. You deserve a nice steak at Cookeville’s finest, Spankies. With the Bruins finally getting to play some games at home (11 of the first 15 were on the road), I fully expect to see the barrage continue.


Kerron and Kerron


After I decided to highlight some of Kerron’s poor decision making, he promptly proved me right, then quickly proved me wrong. We saw two very different starting point guards this weekend. On Thursday night, Kerron had one of the least memorable games of his career. He was 3-10 from the field and had 7 turnovers all coming in the second half. He recklessly attacked the rim and had Rick pulling his hair out. Saturday was a completely different story. His scoring was down only producing 8 points on 6 attempts but clearly had the game on a string. The starting point guard set up his teammates on 10 different occasions. 10! He was attacking when he saw a matchup he liked and dished it when it wasn’t there. Kerron excels when he sees a defender start to back pedal. His eyes light up and he goes straight to the rim. Tech was on their heels from the tip and Kerron took advantage, with zero turnovers on Saturday. That put his weekend totals at 16 assists to 7 turnovers. Even with a poor 16 minute stretch at Jacksonville, Kerron had fabulous weekend.


Not Impressed, OVC


Whenever you change conferences or go into a new environment, you can never be sure what you are going to get. You can do all the scouting and watch all the tape you want, but until you get on the floor, you can never be sure. Now that we have seen the Bruins in conference action, we know that the OVC takes awhile to warm up. At Jacksonville, the Gamecocks scored the 5th and 6th points at the 11:36 mark of the first half. In a similar fashion, Tech scored their 5th point at 9:25 mark. So if we do some quick math we see that our first two OVC opponents managed to score 11 points combined in about 20 minutes of action. In Jacksonville’s defense, they managed to make the game interesting in the second half. The Bruins were able to hold off the Gamecocks by going 17-17 from the foul line. All in all, the OVC really underwhelmed in the first go round. Let us all hope for better basketball down the road.


Gambler’s Corner


The Bruins hit the road as big favorites. They were -6.5 point favorites in Jacksonville which they covered easily. The line against Tech opened at -14 and was quickly bet down to -11.5. Bad beat by Vegas. More for us. This moves the Bruins to 6-6 against the spread this year and 2-0 in OVC play.

  1. Jeff – go straight for the “cheese bread” at SPANKIES.

    Also of note Blake had a pretty great weekend – even though he missed a dunk in Cookeville.

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