The Byrd Cage

The Anxieties of a Belmont Fan, and This Weekend’s Games

In Game Posts on January 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

morehead-state

Let me be the first to say, that as a fan, I hate this season.

Don’t get me wrong-I love the way the Bruins have been humiliating the OVC but from here on out, but the Bruins stand as the clear conference favorite and that makes me nervous.  Every game for the rest of the season is likely to bore us to sleep with a blowout or we are going to be mad as hell if we let one slip through our fingers.

Belmont is having their best season ever.  Which is surprising for two reasons;  1) No one at the beginning of the season could have predicted Trevor Noack, the Hay Bailer, would be this good as a small center.  2) Belmont is playing a typical starting five, that is, we don’t have the depth of bench we are used to and it’s actually working quite well.

Over the past decade, the Bruins have been an inflated statistical Cinderella team for stat guys like Ken Pomeroy, who promise a Sweet 16 run, only to have our hopes and dreams smashed by some sluggish major conference juggernaut.  Historically, Belmont is the best of the worst, so they out run and pad the crap out of their stats against inferior opponents and guys like Ken Pom and ESPN have projected our run to be considerably deeper in the past when push comes to shove.

But, this year is different. Belmont currently touts a RPI of 22 (realtimerpi.com).  We have never ended a season with a RPI below 50.  Now a lot of this has to do with the fact that we played some really good teams this year, like Kansas and VCU (both beat us), however, Belmont is actually beating good teams this year (MTSU, Stanford, South Dakota State).  Historically, Belmont struggles against anyone with a little bit of muscle and pounds everybody else.  This season is different.

As I mentioned earlier, I hate seasons like this.  We’re only really going to enjoy the season when it’s over, and if Belmont makes the tournament, and if they win at least one game.  Starting tomorrow we have slated two road games that we should win but stand a good chance at letting slip through our fingers.

The first is at Morehead State on Thursday night, who you may have heard of because they ruined your bracket when they upset Louisville in the 2011 tournament.  They are above average by OVC standards.  An up-tempo team who likes to play hot potato with the basketball, they turn the ball over a lot but also steal and block shots.  They lost to EKU on the road and destroyed SEMO at home (but so has everybody else).  Keep an eye on senior guard Devon Atkinson, who statistically looks like a Kerron Johnson clone.

Saturday night may be our toughest conference game of the season against EKU.  They are the only team to really challenge us from the OVC as they took the lead early in the second half last week.  However, the only reason EKU was even in the game was Belmont turned the ball over 21 times (versus their 13 TOPG average).  Belmont shot well, rebounded well, and overall played Belmont basketball against them, they just need to hold onto the damn ball.  Another factor to consider is that EKU is 10-0 at home.  Don’t be alarmed if Belmont comes out with a more methodical approach on Saturday as good ball and tempo control is the recipe for beating the OVC’s second best team.

-Steve

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Belmont tips off against Morehead State in Morehead, KY tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

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  1. The main issue Steve is that Belmont has played a fairly weak OVC schedule. This has lulled us into a false sense of security. We will most certainly not run the table in the OVC. In fact, this weekend is a good chance to drop one. Which will be tough to swallow. While talks of an at-large were nice, they arent realistic. We have to win the conference tournament. At this point, we are just playing for a top seed in the OVC tourney. The game at EKU will be huge in that regard. The OVC is better than we have seen and will play better. PREPARE FOR AGONY!

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