The Byrd Cage

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The Byrd Cage

In Game Posts on February 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm

To those who have followed the Byrd Cage for the past 4 years, you may have noticed that blog posts have been sporadic and coverage has been lacking for the better part of the last year.  If you haven’t, we have- and we want to tell you that as of February 7th, this website will no longer be functional.

It is sad to write this, as a Belmont fan, and as a guy who started a random blog four years ago for the team I love. The Byrd Cage grew up considerably since I first wrote the post about a Belmont team that could beat Duke (we lost by one point in the season opener).  I quickly realized that there were a considerable amount of people that loved Belmont basketball, and that knew quite a bit more than me about the sport, and about the team.  So I reached out to a great group of people for help.  With all Belmont alumni at the helm, the ByrdCage started rolling.  From serious statistical breakdowns of games and players to the ever-popular Twitter-trolling of Mort and Hugs, we formed a nice little community.  I think I finally realized how wide the readership and appreciation was of this website when the ByrdCage hosted a March Madness watch party at Sportsman’s Grill and had 150 people present.

As Kyle Williams took over the Editor role, and Nick Broadhead took over as Director of Content, our website traffic jumped to the highest traffic we experienced at the Cage, topping out a 6000 page views in one day.  Pretty great stuff for a little Belmont blog.  I basically sat back and did nothing, watching the team and readers take it to the next level.  Matt Sherrill, Jono Broadhead, Brian Dunn, Steven Lefebvre, Ben Smith, and Ryan Hurd all offered unique content with quality writing styles that made us an entertaining, yet newsworthy source of information for Belmont fans.  Joel Schlichtemier utilized his talents behind the camera and gave us some awesome photos during some great Belmont moments, and some guest writers offered insights from around the country on how important Belmont basketball was to them.

All in all, I learned a ton and had a blast.  I’d like to thank Belmont athletics for giving us access to interviews, particularly Greg Sage who allowed us to be such a close part of the action.

Finally, i’d like to thank Coach Byrd.  I got the opportunity to talk to him a few times, and he was legitimately interested in this guy who had a little blog.  He spent 15 minutes with me in an interview the day before they left to go to the NCAA Tournament.  His phone was lighting up, his staff hovering outside the door- yet Coach Byrd looked me in the eyes and asked what I studied at Belmont and what I was doing now.  We were done with the interview, but Coach Byrd intently looked at me, asking about my life in what was probably his 50th interview of the day.  He actually cared about the individual across from him.

And that’s what i’ll take from this, I think.  A blog like this might think Coach Byrd’s success comes in wins, in navigating a team from the NAIA to the NCAA Tournament, in beating Lipscomb or Murray State, or in getting that first win in the NCAA Tournament.  And yes, Coach Byrd probably thinks that has some to do with it, but ultimately I get the feeling that it is about the people around him.  Even though I have probably spent 30 minutes total with the Coach in my lifetime, he left a mark on me.  And I could feel that in the players I interviewed, and Kyle interviewed- and we have heard it from countless others, Coach Byrd is a quality person that truly cares about the individuals around him.

Alright, the website is done and I must go.  I no longer have the time to commit to deliver a quality product, and I won’t try to halfway do something and tarnish the reputation of the Cage.  That being said, while the website may be done, the Twitter handle will still be active.  Follow that for some hot takes.

And who know’s what is next?

Stay tuned, and thank you for everything.


-Brett McReynolds


And We’re Off!

In Game Posts on November 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm


We are off and running in another Belmont Bruins campaign! As we all know, these non-conference/exhibition games show us things that we may never see again. Last year in the season opener at Lipscomb the Bruins had to gut out a sloppy win. They were adjusting to new defensive rules and no Ian or Kerron. It took time to readjust and all that season produced was an OVC Championship game appearance and an NIT Elite Eight.
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Adult Steve Reflects

In Game Posts on March 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Last night fellow Cager, Kyle Williams and I had optimistic conversation as we sobbed through Belmont giving away the last 2:29 seconds of last night’s NIT Quarterfinal to Clemson. It was painful to watch Drew Windler, who looked so promising at the beginning of this season, double-dribble his last possession in division-1 basketball.

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In Game Posts on March 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm
Reece drives to the basket?

Reece drives to the basket?

Well here we are again, folks. After graduating FIVE seniors, Belmont has earned the regular season OVC title and is playing against a very good EKU team in the OVC championship game tonight at 6:oopm on ESPN2.

To get here, Belmont had to beat a hot Morehead State team that had just defensively steamrolled Tennessee Tech the night before. We were worried that Belmont’s turnover-prone offense would have a hard time keeping things together against a team playing with a chip on it shoulder. Instead, Belmont’s insane shooting performance (FGM-A: 27-51, 52.9% & 3PM-A 11-24, 45.8%) naturally opened up the court to a defense that was on its toes all night.

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The Fury of Murray: A New Rivalry

In Game Posts on February 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

Photo borrowed from @jonathanshank

From the seats, this game had everything.  A convincing lead from the start by the home team, a swift return from the away team to even it up at half- and then a furious fight for victory at the end of the game all made for yet another riveting young chapter in the Belmont versus Murray State rivalry book.

From the seats, I don’t think I’ve heard the Curb Event Center that loud since the Lipscomb rivalry was, well, actually a rivalry.  Our student section was great, the band on point, and even that old person side that I sit on now stood up cheering for a large portion of the second half.

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Hoop Hour #2

In Game Posts on January 8, 2014 at 9:41 am

Editors Note: For those of you unfamiliar with the practice, Belmont holds an event once a month throughout the basketball season called ‘Hoop Hour’ wherein guests eat lunch [Sodexo] whilst beholding coach Newbauer and Coach Byrd breakdown game footage of their respective teams.

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The Weekly Wrap – The String Theory Edition?

In Game Posts on December 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm
"Ever Drink Bailey's from a shoe?"

“Ever Drink Bailey’s from a shoe?”

The Bruins lost to Indiana State. This loss, in and of itself, doesn’t really tell us much more about the Bruins’ chances for the rest of this season. However, this loss to the Sycamores puts to rest a December which I’m sure Coach Byrd would like to forget. Belmont finishes 1-5 on the month after going 7-1 during November continuing the ByrdCage’s theme for the season of “Who is this team?”

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The Weekly Wrap: Jono Talks Kentucky

In Game Posts on December 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm
Julius Randle ate our lunch.

Julius Randle ate our lunch.

With another loss, this time at the hands of national powerhouse Kentucky, Belmont finds itself in the midst of a number of different realities. First of all, the Bruins are experiencing their worst losing spell since the 2010 season (the team finished 19-12). Another reality is that the Bruins, as each successful year passes, face growing expectations (maybe that’s just from the writers on this blog and not the readers…). But the most important reality facing the Bruins is that they are still only in the midst of their “preseason” and seasons at Belmont are built on the conference schedule. So lets try to put these realities in context.

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A Dark Night in Denver, on to Kentucky

In Game Posts on December 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

Do you remember the scene in The Dark Knight Rises when Batman fights Bane in the sewer?

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The Weekly Wrap: Big Blue Nation Edition

In Game Posts on December 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

Cagers! Our attempt for week two streaming content is in full effect; let’s hope the wheels haven’t fallen off just yet. Dunn comes right back at you to start your week:

Speaking of “weak”

  • Our Bruins had a less than stellar showing against a mediocre (at best) 5-7 South Dakota State team. You can read the box score for stat lines, however I do want to make mention of Holden Mobley who played a solid fifteen minutes scoring zero points, committing four personal fouls and grabbing one rebound. Efficiency at its finest. In all honesty, this one came down to Blake and Drew getting in foul trouble early (seems to be a recurring trend) which decreased production on the offensive front. Read the rest of this entry »