The Byrd Cage

Adult Steve says: “We Have to Win the Damn Game”

In Game Posts on March 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm


The last article I wrote, I made some bold predictions about the Murray State game and they came back to haunt me. I should have known better, Belmont has choked at every opportunity to move out of the small D1 schools with a basketball team into the mid-major contender category. You know, that category of school that you hear the name and regardless of what great advancements they’ve made in the arts, sciences, and humanities you think, basketball. That’s the stuff TV contracts and NBA players on your roster are made of.

If we want to be taken seriously at the national level, get votes in the AP Poll, steal the OVC spot light from Murray State, we have to win the damn games (new hashtag proposal: #winthedamngame). There was the 30-win season two years ago, where we almost beat the Vols. The two times we almost beat Duke (2008, 2011). And that time Murray State ended our hopes of running the table in our first year in the OVC. Oh ya, and there’s going 0-5 in the NCAA tournament. We have never won the big game. And the words I ate in my last article weren’t the ones that predicted Belmont to win in Murray, Kentucky (because I still believe they’re the better team). No, the words I ate were the ones that said Belmont ‘deserves’ anything. Because frankly: we don’t.

I have heard chatter about a so-called ‘at-large bid’ for the Bruins. Naturally our top-30 RPI, our dominance in the OVC, the fact that we have the second highest non- conference schedule in the country, and our 6-2 record against top-100 schools, puts together a good resume. But it’s not going to happen. Remember MTSU last year? They lost just two Sun Belt games last season, beat UCLA on the road, had one of the best FG% in the country, but then lost in the first round of their tournament. Did they make The Tournament? Nope. Why? Because who’s heard of MTSU? Last year, 37 teams reached the tournament as an at-large bid. 35 of those teams had been to the tournament more than 7 times in their school’s history and most of that 35 have been more than 20 times. If you’re wondering about those two ‘newbies,’ they were in much more competitive conferences than the OVC: South Florida (Big East) and Southern Miss (CUSA). Belmont has 5 tournament apperances and was abysmal against Kansas and VCU on the road this year. They don’t ‘deserve’ anything.

Therefore, Belmont HAS to win the OVC tournament AND has to reach the second round of the tournament! We have been saying all season that this is our best Belmont team ever. Our national notoriety is growing. This could be our year. We have all the talent we need to make a Sweet 16 run. But are we going to be the same old Belmont who lacks any sort of poise in the big game? It is our poise that will determine our ability to win big games these next couple of weeks. Remember, the 2008 Duke game was lost on an inbounds play. Just win the damn game already.

– Adult Steve

  1. Adult Steve, I think you mean they need to reach the “third round” of the tournament. Technically.

  2. Steve, I’m not sure I feel that this is the best team we’ve ever had. Perhaps 2012 or 2011. Remember at the beginging of the year Coach played like he was pretty doubtful himself with the undersized lot. Just saying.

    Though I agree that there is just no way for an at large bid.

    But my main counterpoint revolves around a point that really this article sets itself up to make but doesn’t:

    The article is really a dig on Lipscomb but to be honest Lipscomb – all things considered – isn’t AS TERRIBLE as Belmont is UNPRECEDENTEDLY GOOD.

    “The Bisons were one of nine programs that became full-fledged NCAA Division I members in 2000. Only three of those schools have reached the NCAA Tournament. Since 1997, starting with Belmont, 43 schools have started Division I programs. Only 12 have reached the NCAA Tournament. Just Portland State (two), Albany (two), Oakland (three) and Belmont (five) have made multiple trips”

    Basically, no-one is doing what Coach Byrd is doing with the limited time he’s been at the D1 level.

    Obviously, I want Belmont to win a tournament game and its frustrating to have watched them lose 5 times at the big dance. But I really think Coach Byrd is doing insane things at Belmont with or without a tourney win.

    • I agree with everything you just said mr Kyle. Coach Byrd is a genius. Give this program another decade with this guy and who knows how good we’ll be. It’s an exciting time to watch this program grow.

  3. Ya… Cause those wins in the A-Sun Championship game aren’t a big deal apparently.

    • I really hope this actually Justin hare. To which I’ll kindly say, yes the three a-sun championships you helped win were a big deal and got the program on the mid major map… But now is the time to be forgotten as the team that almost beat duke and remembered as a mid major tour de force

  4. A couple of things:
    1. Kansas was a massacre, VCU was a game of two halves. We outplayed VCU in that second half.
    2. Comparing this team to MTSU last year is a stretch. Our resume is much sexier. MTSU’s resume last year was 1-3 vs. Top 100 teams, Belmont this year 6-2 vs. Top 100 including a Top 25 win. How is there no way for an at-large? It all depends on how things shake up, but the possibility is most definitely there. Besides having a “perception” problem, our resume is fairly strong for a mid major.
    3. I don’t buy the whole Byrd is our savior and the only reason we are at this level is because of his ability to get more out of his players. Isn’t that what good coaches do anyways? Byrd is a great coach and he has recruited some great talent which is paying dividends for us now. 4. Bottom line the team deserves credit for big wins and blame for big losses, including Coach Byrd.

    • Outplaying someone in the second half is still a ten point loss. Granted, MTSU’s SOS is always pitiful (come on Kermit), however with the eye test they were scary good against Belmont defensively and like I said, their offense was among the best in the country.

  5. True, the VCU game wasn’t a massacre though. Offense is relative to who your competition is (which last year apparently MTSU didnt play anyone really of note), but I hear ya. Side note, great article on saying the one thing on everyone’s mind in terms of the “big game”. Barring we make the tournament, our proven track record makes me think twice on my bracket selections.

    • God knows my last couple of brackets were ruined by being an over zealous Belmont fan.

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