The Byrd Cage

Belmont stuns #12 UNC, 83-80

In Game Posts on November 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm
JJ takes the shot of his life

JJ takes the shot of his life

I think this is a good time for me to remind you all of my proposal for Mayor Dean to rename I-440, “The Rick Byrd Parkway” because gahhhhhhhhhh…

As you may have heard by now, the very same Belmont team that managed to barely squeek out a win last week against Lipscomb (who, mind you, was picked to finish NINTH in the ASUN), just beat perennial ACC powerhouse, #12 North Carolina.  This is Belmont’s second top-25 win in program history and will undoubtedly be remembered as a signature win for Coach Byrd and his unprecedented Belmont program – which he built from quite literally, nothing.

You may be asking yourself, “How in the world did this happen?” Good question. Most people are going to cite the abysmal free-throw shooting from UNC. The Tar Heels MISSED more free throws than Belmont even ATTEMPTED. Hear this: Belmont shot 20-22 (90%) from the stripe, while UNC shot 22-48 (45%). This incredible feat was made possible by a combination of: a straight-up dogpile of ufathomable calls, sloppy defense, and old-fashioned size mismatches, collectively resulting in 31 BU Fouls. I’m pretty sure that was the worst foul trouble we’ve ever been in without having any one single player fouled out.

…Let’s look at this further. Last year, UNC shot 67% from the free throw line, so you know they can do better than 45%…and they were AT HOME. Why the terrible FT shooting? I’ll tell you: CHARLES VAN DYKE. The BU homie made the trip to UNC and was relentlessly destroying the pristine silence UNC shooters are accustomed to from the free throw line at the Dean Smith Center. You could hear dude both on the radio feed and on TV throughout the game. From Here To Anywhere, guys. Now, Charles is famous and has us here at the cage wicked jealous because he made it do Deadspin before us – though this is the better video:

That video was just one of the 26 missed free throws – the most ever missed in the Roy Williams era (  – that we’d like to at least partially attribute to Chuck.

Ok, so there was also the fact that UNC’s  leading scorer from last year, PJ Hairston, rode the bench the entire game with his chum Leslie McDonald. Regarding McDonald:

“Authorities twice cited Hairston during the offseason while driving a rental vehicle linked to a felon and party promoter, raising the possibility of an improper benefits violation. ” – AP Sports

Thanks to Rick Byrd, shenanigans like this are something Belmont fans don’t ever have to worry about. Lucky for us, UNC fans do. This unique ‘advantage’ is a huge deal because some talking-heads say UNC is a top-ten team with silly PJ on the court. It seems even the Tar Heel faithful knew that things were not A-OK for UNC going into this game. But honestly, who cares.

I’ll save the nitty-gritty stuff for Sage’s post game wrap at Belmont’s site but let’s also take a moment to honor JJ for doing this:

jj 1

then this…

jj 2

and then of course this…

jj 3

all in the last 1:03 of the game…

JJ just went into clutch-time BEAST MODE … after going 2-14 from behind the arc.  Props also should be served to Reece for the the assists on all three shots, and of course Rick Byrd for putting the guys in the position to even consider pulling off such a feat. Guys, Rick was DIALED IN – perhaps like never before. After JJ’s second shot, Rick called a timeout AND THIS WAS HIS FACE:

Hi I'm Rick. I am here to destroy you.

Hi I’m Rick. I am here to destroy you.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rick’s powers, this is him staring through the basketball portal into another dimension. It is terrifying.

Even with Rick’s powers, it’s still hard to wrap one’s mind around this win. Its just friggin huge for Belmont, people. Here’s some more fun facts:

  • UNC was 340-59 ALL-TIME at the Dean Smith Center making this there only 60th loss in 400 games at home…
  • Belmont was 15-27 from the 3 line and Tar Heels were just 2-7. Those 15 threes represent the second most ever made against a Roy Williams coached Tar Heels.-
  • Bemont’s win snaps the Tarheels streak of 82 straight non-conference home wins against unranked teams.-ESPN
  • No presumed top 25 team will ever schedule us again.
  • This was the second non-ACC loss for the Tar Heels in Roy Williams’ 11 years as head coach. –
  • James Michael McAdoo scored a career high 27 points. JJ scored 28
  • Has Laidig awoken from his slumber? 2-3 from behind the arc tonight…

What else stuck out in your mind from the game? Surely, we will be talking about this one for a long, long time.

Holy Cross, we’re coming for you…


  1. Great stuff as always, guys! Here’s my $0.02…

    I’m going to admit right off-the-bat that, in addition to my primary allegiance to our Bruins, I also happen to be a life-long Tar Heels fan, so this is my (lame) attempt at objectivity: The season has just begun, so let’s stay realistic and try not put too much weight behind either the Heels’ loss or the Bruins’ win.
    That said, I can now in good conscience declare that Belmont’s win over #12 UNC is infinitely more beneficial to the Bruins that it is detrimental to the Tar Heels. I am of the opinion that this loss will make the Heels better in the long run. It’s one of those losses that stings right now, but it exposed weaknesses that can, and will, be addressed immediately. And we all know that it is far better to have weaknesses exposed in November than it is in March. Bottom line: UNC will be just fine with or without (co-knuckleheads) Hairston & McDonald returning to the lineup.

    For Belmont, this is a win over a team ranked #12 in the NATION, a huge deal no matter what month of the year it is!!! Also, we learned a thing or two about our team as well. This was our forth game of the season and each one has been close late. That’s going to be big when conference-play starts up.
    Be honest, the best any of us could’ve hoped for going into this game was a strong team effort in a single-digit loss to the Heels. That would’ve been respectable and something to build upon. A win wasn’t on anyone’s radar, and certainly not mine. When asked about this matchup prior to this week, I think even Coach Byrd said on at least a couple of occasions that this was going to be a nice “experience” for our players to have. I’ll say. That “experience” turned out to be proving that not only could they play with one of the best programs in NCAA history, but beat them in spite of one of the greatest home-court advantages that exists: college basketball’s cathedral, also-known-as the Dean E. Smith Center. A place where five NCAA Championship banners hang among the names and jerseys of basketball legend, and the face of the building’s namesake, coaching royalty, is immortalized in stained glass in the lobby.
    I’d like to think that JJ’s eye might have caught a fuzzy glimpse of the #23 jersey hanging from the rafters in the distance as he watched the arc of his game-winning 3 float to the basket. An experience indeed.

    One statistical thought: 80 is the magic number.
    This is a list of the six mid-major teams that have managed to beat UNC in the Roy Williams era ( Every single one of them kept the Heels below 80 points.

    Nov 19, 2004 Santa Clara 66-77 (L) @ Santa Clara
    Mar 19, 2006 George Mason 60-65 (L) NCAA Tournament (2nd Rd.)
    Nov 22, 2006 Gonzaga 74-82 (L) Pre-Season NIT (NYC)
    Jan 4, 2010 Coll. of Charleston 79-82 (L) OT @ Coll. of Charleston
    April 1, 2010 Dayton 68-79 (L) NIT Final (NYC)
    Nov 20, 2012 Butler 71-82 (L) Maui Invitational (Hawaii)

    Anyone who knows even a little bit about Carolina basketball can tell you that ol’ Roy likes to run the ball and tries to get as many possessions as humanly possible. When the Tar Heels score more than 80 points against their opponent, the odds are extremely high that they are going to win the game. Sure they have lost putting up more than 80 at times, but it’s rare.
    Rarer still, do the Heels lose at home when they score 80+ and they have never lost to a mid-major team at home during the Roy Williams era (2003-present).


    Add our beloved Coach Byrd’s Bruins to the list:

    Nov 17, 2013 Belmont 80-83 (L) Chapel Hill, N.C.

    This is one for the ages, guys.
    It is most definitely Bruin Time.

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