The Byrd Cage

Belmont: Previewing the 10-12 Seeding

In Game Posts on March 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm


Earlier, we posted previews of Belmont as an 8 or a 9 seed.  While that makes me happy to actually type – this year, the assertion could be reasonably considered absurd. That being said, let’s preview our most likely seeding below, a 10-12 seed.

But before we do that- what seed do you think we’ll end up with?

Belmont as 12 Seed:

5 Seed : Syracuse

  • Best Wins: @Louisville, SDSU, Notre Dame
  • Notable Losses: No losses to anyone above 50 RPI.  But a huge loss to Georgetown, 61-39
  • Key Players:  6-8 Junior forward CJ Fair, 14.5 PPG/7.2 RPG


The Matchup:

CJ Fair has been the most consistent point scorer all season, but Southerland released his true form in the Big East tournament, coming back to beat Seton Hall, then Pitt with a 6-6 performance from behind the arc, scoring 20 points in each game.  This team has four players that average over 12 points a game- showing that the Boeheim Boys are here to stay.  Athletic, long, three-shooting forwards give me the frights in a Belmont matchup.  Would be best to stay away from these guys, in my opinion.  I still expect Gerry McNamara to take the floor every time I see those jerseys- but his last Syracuse game was SEVEN YEARS AGO.  Yes.  That means you are getting old.

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5 Seed:  Pittsburgh

  • Best Wins: Killed Georgetown in January, 73-45
  • Notable Losses: Rutgers.
  • Key Players: 6-0 Senior guard Tray Woodall (11 PPG, 5 APG)


Sorry, but this Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon get-up isn’t fooling anyone, Joker.

The Matchup:

If you ask Syracuse’s Coach Boeheim about Pitt, he’ll likely say things like, “They are a hard, physical team,” or, “When the play well, they are the best in our league”.  He also said that about Seton Hall .  So the point here is, I don’t know really know what to tell you about this Pittsburgh team.  They played a close one to Syracuse in the Big East Tournament, and they killed a good Georgetown team.  Here’s a good stat- Pitt is 296th in 3-point field goals per game (5.0), and 258th in free throw percentage (66.7).  While this game would be a grinding battle, I would love the chance to draw this team.

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5 Seed:  St. Louis

  • Best Wins: New Mexico, VCU, Butler x2
  • Notable Losses: RPI 201 Rhode Island
  • Key Players: The sixth man, Cody Ellis.  6-8 Senior forward.


The Matchup:

This team spreads the love, as 5 players average 10 points a game.  I highlight the Billikens sixth man only because of his blue hair, and while his 0-12ness in the loss at Xavier was a mess, Coach Crews said this: “I told him probably three times in the game to keep shooting.  You’re not going to pinch-hit for Pujols or Mantle or Musial or someone who’s good, are you? If he’s open, I want him shooting it.”  MUSIAL.  Get out of here, CREWS.  But in all seriousness, the Billikens have an amazing season going.  A soundly coached team with proven wins is scary in the tournament- but I would LOVE the chance to face them.  They sound similar to a team I know well…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

5 Seed:  Wisconsin

  • Best Wins:  Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State
  • Notable Losses:  Purdue
  • Key Players: Ben Brust

The Matchup:

I just don’t want to face another Bo Ryan coached basketball team.  And while 12-6 in any other conference may not be ideal- the Big 10 is a different animal this year.  While ranked 208th in PPG in the nation, we know that statistic means crap with Bo Ryan’s ability to get control of the time of possession game.  And while I can’t speak for Ken Pomeroy, I’m pretty sure he loves Wisconsin for this fact and he has a reason to- they are ranked 4th in defensive efficiency, allowing only 84.7 points per 100 defensive possessions.  I don’t like this team as they scratch where we itch.  And, unfortunately, we’ve played a Bo Ryan team before.

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Belmont as 11 Seed:

6 Seed:  UNLV

  • Best Wins: New Mexico, Colorado Sate, San Diego State
  • Notable Losses: Fresno State.  Twice.  The 11-19 Bulldogs had UNLV’s number
  • Key Player: 6-8 Forward Anthony Bennett

The Matchup:

Freshman NBA Prospect Anthony Bennett has been giving everyone trouble this year in the Mountain West. Averaging 16 PPG and 8 RPG- the future superstar is likely to provide some serious trouble underneath the basket.  I like this matchup in name only- as Bennett vs Noack looks to be more like Jadeveon Clowney vs. , well, Trevor Noack on the line of scrimmage.  And we all saw what happened earlier this year. clowney1-1-1-13

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

6 Seed:  UCLA

  • Best Wins:  Arizona x2
  • Notable Losses: Cal Poly, Washington State
  • Key Players: 6-6 Freshman NBA Lotto Pick Shabazz Muhammed


The Matchup:

While Shabazz is all the Shabuzz (I know I’m the first to ever use this phrase), Larry Drew II, senior point guard, leads the nation in assist to turnover ratio.  Coach Howland even called him the “best passer in the history of UCLA basketball.”  I’m no John Wooden, but didn’t Kareem, Bill Walton, and Reggie Miller play on those teams?  Maybe they just didn’t pass, I don’t know.  It is still quite the statement.  I don’t want to face Shabazz, and I’ll end it at that.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

6:  VCU

  • Best Wins: Memphis, Belmont, Butler
  • Notable Losses:  Richmond 
  • Key Players: Juvonte Reddic, 6-9 Junior forward


The Matchup:

Eleventh in the nation in PPG and 1st in the nation in defensive turnover percentage- this team is scary.  And we have played them before.  It just didn’t go so well.  Holding us to 21 points in the first half- we fought back valiantly, but not valiantly enough.  Scoring 44 points in the second half we lost a tough one 75-65 early in the season on December 1st.  I don’t think the Selection Committee likes rematches, and in this case- do not pass me the VCU.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

6 Seed:  Butler

  • Best Wins: Gonzaga.  Indiana.  Whew.
  • Notable Losses:  Charlotte.
  • Key Players:  Depth.


The Matchup:

Third place in the Atlantic 10- right behind VCU, the Bulldogs are that perennial mid-major that is scary- if only by name.  But this year’s case is not in name only.  As Jay Bilas mentioned in his “Most Clutch Players in Basketball” segment earlier this year, Roosevelt Jones made the list.  Nothing to write home about in shooting percentages, Jones made the list from his last minute shocker against Gonzaga.  With quality wins against the nation’s #1 and #3 teams, and a deep team with five players averaging double-digits; I don’t want none, either.  I’d rather play a Butler than a UCLA, but only by a smidge.  And we all know that ain’t much.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Belmont as 10 Seed:

7  Seed:  Notre Dame

  • Best Wins:  Louisville, Marquette
  • Notable Losses: St. John’s, St. Joseph’s
  • Key Players:  6-9 Senior forward Jack Cooley (14 PPG, 10 RPG)

notre dame

I want one of these jerseys, if only, to hide my messy obsession with lime sherbet.

The Matchup:

Pat Connaughton.  Are you kidding me?  Can you think of any better name for anyone to play for the Irish?  Besides Rudy.  Exactly.  You have to root for them.  Except for the uniforms.  Connaughton stepped up in the Big East Tournament with 21 points against Rutgers and 18 against Marquette last night.  This team is hot and is looking to get past the semi-finals for the first time in Big East history before they.. um.. join the ACC.  But in basketball.  Just basketball.  I’d love a hand at the Fighting Irish.  With nothing to write home about in the defensive category, I’d love to see the Bruins knock ’em down from the arc and control the game with points off turnovers.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

7 Seed:  North Carolina

  • Best Wins:  UNLV, NC State
  • Notable Losses:  Texas
  • Key Players:  6-9 Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo; 6-7 Junior G-F Reggie Bullock


The Matchup:

With McAdoo and Bullock both averaging 14 PPG and 7 RPG, the inside presence is definitely there.  But word on the street is they give up a lot of 3’s. The Tar Heels are 121st in FG% in the nation, allow opponents to shoot 35%, and gives up the three- it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Belmont drew this team this year.  I’d  rank them in the “love a shot at them in this seeding category”.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

7 Seed:  Creighton

  • Best Wins:  Wisconsin
  • Notable Losses: Drake, Illinois State
  • Key Players: Doug McDermott (averages 23 PPG)


The Matchup:

Doug McDermott is just an amazing player to watch.  With the 2nd highest efficient field goal percentage in the country, this team is an offensive beast.  The lack of rebounds may be the Achilles’ heel- but when you shoot like that you really don’t need them.  Almost last in the country in forcing steals and getting only 30% of available offensive boards, the recipe is clear.  Shut down Doug, maximize points off turnovers, and Belmont wins.  The only thing here is that it sounds considerably easier than it is to knock off the Bluejays.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

7 Seed:  Memphis

  • Best Wins:  Southern Miss?  Really.
  • Notable Losses:  Xavier
  • Key Players: 6-1 Junior guard Joe Jackson (13 PPG)


Star of the hit 90’s sitcom… um.. I mean Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner

The Matchup:

Doesn’t Josh Pastner remind you of Kevin Arnold?  It is just really hard to take that guy seriously.  The Tigers with a 16-0 record in Conference USA looks impressive- until you look deeper into Conference USA.   With no astounding non conference wins or losses- this team seems to me to be the most up in the air.  They only beat Lipscomb by 6- so it is really hard for me to take them seriously.  Between that and Kevin Arnold- I want a piece.  Please.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In Conclusion:

If you had to ask an expert like me who we will get and what seed you will be?  I’ll give you a straight answer.  Belmont will draw an 11 seed and play Pittsburgh.  Pitt will drop a seed from the Big East Tournament and Belmont will play them in Lexington.  All of Nashville will drive to the bourbon capital of the world and we will celebrate our first ever win in the NCAA tournament.  Dear Lord, please.


  1. I voted 8 cuz I want to be original.

  2. Solid analysis as usual, gentlemen. As a life-long Tar Heels fan, my heart sank when I saw them on the schedule as part of next season’s HoF Tourney in November. I knew it would eventually happen, but I still wasn’t ready…spiritually, physically, ecumenically. My first thought was “if we had to play them, THIS year would’ve been ideal to be competitive.” I’d much rather face them on a neutral court for the first time rather than at the Dean Dome. But that’s not likely especially with the questions around Hairston’s gruesome injury last night, maybe the Committee bumps them down and out of our match-up field.

    Also, Lunardi’s got us against Oklahoma St. in yesterday’s projection. I’ve not seen them play this season…thoughts?

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