The Byrd Cage

What if Belmont Was an 8 or 9 Seed?

In Game Posts on March 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

bracketology

If there has ever been a season where the seeding was unsure for BU – it is this year.  I don’t know about you but I’ve seen projections of Belmont from a 7 seed  (Yes.  SEVEN SEED.) to a 12.  It really is insane.  For now, we realize there are a TON of variables to consider – from the makeup of the Selection Sunday Staff to the very timing of this article. While us Byrd Cagers are the top experts in this field, we simply cannot guarantee what seed The Mont will draw.  So let’s look at what could happen. This post covers projections of Belmont as an 8 or 9 seed. Later, we’ll talk about 10, 11, and 12 seeds. Here we go.

Projecting Belmont as 8 Seed:

9 Seed: Oregon

  • Best Wins: Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, UNLV
  • Notable Losses: California (twice, see below), Colorado
  • Key Players: 6-6 Forward EJ Singler (First Team All Pac 12), 6-7 Forward Arsalan Kazemi (Defensive All Pac 12)

 Oregon court

And you thought Boise State’s field was bad…

The Matchup:

As evidenced by a strong frontcourt in Singler and Kazemi, the Ducks can be a tough team . . . when they feel like it.  Inconsistent play has plagued this squad throughout the year most notably ending in its loss to Utah. However, all that could change as freshman guard Dominic Artis is worked back into the lineup. Unfortunately, Oregon poses a threat in Kazemi who is averaging 9.3PPG/9.6RPG and shooting a staggering 59% from the field. Couple this with a deep bench and solid guard play, this team has the makings for a run in the tourney come Mid-March. That being said, Oregon is somewhat of a crapshoot as all of their notable wins have come in the first half of their schedule. The Ducks ended regular season play by dropping three of their last five… so much for momentum.

So the million dollar question is, which Ducks team shows up come tourney time?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

9 Seed: California

  • Best Wins: Arizona, Oregon (twice)
  • Notable Losses: UNLV, Stanford (twice), Arizona State
  • Key Players: 6-6 Guard Allen Crabbe (First Team All Pac 12)

 cal

No, Cal, we are Bruins.  Because #itsbruinstime.

The Matchup:

The Bear’s backcourt is scary good. Led by Allen Crabbe (18.6 PPG) and Justin Cobbs (15.1 PPG), these two have been essential in some of the team’s key wins for the season. Crabbe at 6-6 and more of a swing player by nature, poses a potential match-up problem for any team due to his length. As for the rest of the team? Well, they don’t contribute much at all as production drops off after Crabbe and Cobbs. The key to winning this game is simple, stop the backcourt. One other thing to point out, the Golden Bears lost twice to Stanford. Yes, THAT Stanford.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

9 Seed: SDSU

  • Best Wins: UCLA, New Mexico, Boise State??
  • Notable Losses: New Mexico, Arizona, Syracuse
  • Key Players: 6-5 Guard Jamal Franklin (First Team All Mountain West)

jamaal franklin SDSU

Jamal demanded his warmups for the game – but Coach wouldn’t allow it.

The Matchup:

SDSU beat an overrated a good UCLA team and a strong New Mexico squad this season. Their success is, in part, driven by star guard Jamal Franklin who is leading the team in pretty much every category (17 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 3.1 APG). Dribble drive is the key here as San Diego leans heavily on guard play. Franklin is complimented nicely by Chase Tapley and Xavier Thames who are averaging 13.1 and 9.3 PPG, respectively. However the team’s rebounding game leaves much to be desired.

On the other side of the ball, the Aztecs rank 37th in scoring defense. This isn’t as concerning considering the fact that The Mont dismantled MTSU who ranks 16th on the very same list. This matchup is intriguing as our Bruins are of a similar makeup given the strength in guard play. I would be interested to see the Aztecs answer for Noack, Blake and JJ. My hunch is they don’t have one.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

9 Seed: Minnesota

  • Best Wins: Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin
  • Notable Losses: Duke, Indiana, Michigan
  • Key Players: The 12th Man

minnesota

The Matchup:

They’re deep and effective in spreading the love amongst themselves as four players are averaging double figure scoring. Playing close to a 12 man rotation, Minnesota is hands down the deepest team in this seeding pool. I guess if you had to pick a standout player it would be guard Andre Hollins who averages 13.9 PPG and shoots a little over 40% from the perimeter. While Minnesota is not going to beat you with explosive talent, they will wear you down (ask Indiana and Michigan) in the course of 40 minutes. Personally, I would rather not take my chances to test how deep our bench could go to just keep up with the Gophers.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

9 Seed Rankings (Most Favorable to Least Favorable)

  1. SDSU
  2. California
  3. Minnesota
  4. Oregon

-Brian Dunn

___________________________________________________________________________

Projecting Belmont as a 9 Seed:

8 Seed: Illinois

  • Best Wins: Gonzaga, Indiana, Butler, EKU
  • Worst Losses: Northwestern, Purdue
  • Key Player: DJ Richardson, SR G 6’3”

dj illinois

The Matchup:

How good is Illinois? With wins over Gonzaga, Indiana and Butler you’d think they’re one of the best in the nation – but not so fast. Yes, the Illini’s two Senior guards lead the team in points and minutes and the presence of 6-11 center Nnanna Egwu makes the lane a difficult place to make a living – but the Illini are pretty hit or miss. Being a guard oriented team could be a good matchup for Belmont, but Illinois is by no means a bad team and certainly wouldn’t overlook the Bruins.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

8 Seed: Missouri

  • Best Wins: Florida, VCU, Illinois
  • Worst Losses: A&M, LSU
  • Key Player: Phil Pressey, JR G 5’11”

Big 12 Basketball Tournament - Baylor v Missouri

The Matchup:

Mizzou was a quick out last year in the tournament. That doesn’t bode well for whoever draws the Tigers this year. Mizzouri could win the SEC Tournament, but just how good is the SEC, really? Six Tigers average 20+ minutes per game (one at 19) and four players average double-digit points. Missouri is a good team but is a perpetual underperformer in the tournament. The high-speed Tigers might be a good draw for Belmont. Like the Bruins, Missouri lacks a true big man and are very efficient. If the Tigers are on, it’s hard for anybody to keep up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

8 Seed: NC State

  • Best Wins: Duke, North Carolina
  • Worst Losses: Wake Forest, Maryland, Florida State
  • Key Player: Scott Wood, SR F 6’6”

nc state

The Matchup:

Belmont? Is that you? The Wolfpack features seven-double digit minute players, have a 3P% of 39 and average 14 assists per game. In all honesty, drawing a middle of the road ACC team may be the best case scenario for Belmont. Don’t be fooled, NC State isn’t a bad team – far from it. With wins over Duke and North Carolina (but let’s be honest, who hasn’t beaten Duke & UNC?) the Wolfpack have proven themselves, but lack the size and athleticism of other ACC teams.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

8 Seed: Colorado St

  • Best Wins: New Mexico, Boise St, UNLV
  • Worst Losses: University of Illinois at Chicago, Colorado, Boise
  • Key Player: Dorian Green, SR G 6’2”

NCAA Basketball Tournament -  Colorado State v Murray State

The Matchup:

My general rule is, “Whatever you think you know about basketball teams west of the Mississippi is probably wrong.” So in the interest of making this interesting, Belmont does NOT want to play Colorado State. In fact, if Belmont draws Colorado St., just go ahead and cancel Christmas ‘cause you’ll never be happy again. The resulting effects on the basketball program as a whole will be incomprehensible. Hell, I don’t know. They beat New Mexico and Boise; two really, really good teams.

-Matt Sherrill

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  1. If Belmont grabs an 8 or a 9 seed I will personally drive to Atlanta and kick Dunn between the legs in jubilation. I’d probably have a shock induced stroke as well. No way is that happening. ITS FUN TO DREAM THO.

  2. […] 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. […]

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