Belmont’s first year in the Ohio Valley Conference qualifies as a rousing success. The Ohio Valley Conference Champions are the top seeds and prohibitive favorites to take the title in their own backyard. Even if the Bruins are eliminated, a NCAA Tournament appearance may be in their future.

Belmont 24-6 (14-2)

Good Wins

11/18 at Stanford (70-62)
12/13 vs Middle Tennessee State (64-49)
12/19 vs South Dakota State (76-49)
2/23 vs Ohio (81-62)

Headscratcher (ish) Loss

11/13 vs Northeastern (71-74)

Against The Bracket

#5 Morehead State (2-0)
#4 Tennessee State (1-1)

#6 SEMO (1-0)
#3 EKU (2-0)
#2 Murray State (0-1)

 

Strengths

  • Scoring: First in the OVC field goal shooting percentage, (52.2%) offensive points per possession. (1.157) Second in three-point field goal percentage. (41.8%)
  • Ball Control: First in the OVC in assists per game, (17.1) turnovers forced per game. (17.3)
  • Defense: First in field goal percentage defense, (42.4%) defensive points per possession (0.938)

Weaknesses

  • Rebounding: 9th in rebounds per game. (28.1) Eighth in rebounding percentage. (48.8%)

Players to Watch

  • G Ian Clark (18.1 rpg, 3.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.7 spg) OVC Co-Player of the year. 46.2% 3-point shooter
  • Kerron Johnson (13.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.7 spg)
  • J.J. Mann (10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg)

 

Outlook

Make no mistake, Belmont is a heavy favorite to win the OVC Tournament in their first year. Both their conference losses were on the road (one cross-town, mind you) in close games. No team besides Tennessee State should have more of a “home court” advantage in Nashville, and the Bruins are playing terrifically down the stretch.

So what stands in the Bruins way? Their semi-finals matchup will be against a great rebounding team, one of Belmont few obvious weaknesses. The Bruins have struggled against Morehead State in Morehead, and the Tigers are just one of two OVC teams to beat the Bruins. If they get Murray State in the finals, that’s another solid rebounding team.

Also, the Bruins are a three-point shooting team, and on back-to-back nights that can be hard to sustain. It’s not as much of a concern as if, say, Belmont had to play on Thursday as well, but it’s something worth noting.

What are the Bruins NCAA Tourney chances if the lose. Making it to the finals would help their cause greatly, but they need to worry about a ton of conference upsets. If the number stays small, Belmont could easily earn their way into the field of 68.

Filed under: Belmont, Ohio Valley Conference

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OVC Ball
Murray’s grows in win at Evansville, but still hungers for more

2014-15 Standings

OVCOverall
WEST
UT Martin0-06-3
Murray State0-07-4
SEMO0-05-5
Eastern Illinois0-04-6
Austin Peay0-04-7
SIU Edwardsville0-01-7
EAST
Belmont0-07-4
Jacksonville State0-07-4
Tennessee Tech0-06-4
Eastern Kentucky0-05-4
Morehead State0-04-9
Tennessee State0-02-8