Online news outlet TheDailyBeast.com recently ranked the 68 teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in terms of how the student-athletes fared academically, and Belmont University landed at third on the list behind only Princeton and Brigham Young. Rounding out the top five were Notre Dame and Villanova. Rankings were calculated based on each team’s graduation success rate (GSR), Academic Progress Rate (APR) for both the most recent year available as well as the multi-year, four-year average score and the head coach’s career APR. All four metrics, calculated and provided by the NCAA, were weighted equally. Click here to see the story and complete list.
Belmont was also one of only seven schools nationwide to be praised by CBSMoneyWatch.com for having perfect graduation rates for men’s basketball student athletes. Click here for more on that story.
Meanwhile, InsideHigherEd.com released today its own picks for the Tournament Bracket based on classroom outcomes. Winners of each game in their bracket were determined using only the NCAA’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate, a nationally comparable score that gives points to teams whose players stay in good academic standing and remain enrolled from semester to semester. In this bracket Belmont falls in the Regional Semifinals to eventual tournament champion Butler. In 2008, the site selected Belmont University to make it all the way to the Championship Game. Click here to read more on this story.
Belmont Men’s Basketball will face Wisconsin in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this Thurs., March 17 in Tucson, Ariz., as part of the Southeast Regional bracket. Tip-off time is 6:27 p.m. Central, and the game will be carried live on TruTV.
Selection Sunday Party Set for March 13
The Belmont men’s basketball team won the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Saturday night with a convincing 87-46 win over North Florida and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins (30-4) are the first team in the nation to 30 victories in NCAA Division-I basketball and will appear in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in six years.
This weekend Belmont University Athletics will host a ‘Selection Sunday’ watch party as the men’s basketball team awaits its opponent and site of play for the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Join the Bruins and the Belmont Community as we celebrate the program’s fourth NCAA Tournament automatic berth and 30-4 campaign.
Belmont head coach Rick Byrd and the entire Bruin team will be on hand. Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram will again serve as emcee for the event.
Schedule of Events
Sunday, March 13: Beaman Student Life Center (adjacent to Curb Event Center)
4 p.m. – FREE food & refreshments served
4:30 p.m. – team introduction
5 p.m. – Selection Show airs live on CBS
There is no charge for admission, and parking is available in the Curb Event Center garage.
Belmont Men’s Basketball Highlights
• Four NCAA Tournament Appearances (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011)
• Eight Atlantic Sun Conference Championships (four regular season, four tournament) since 2006
• First NCAA program to reach 30-win plateau this season
• NCAA-leading 18 road/neutral court victories this season
• Undefeated 12-0 record at Curb Event Center this season
• 25 of 30 victories this season by double figures
• No. 1 in the nation in scoring margin this season
• Most productive bench in NCAA Division-I men’s basketball this season
• Six postseason appearances in the last eight years
• Received Associated Press and/or ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ national poll votes eight consecutive weeks
• No. 2 in national Mid-Major Top 25 Poll on CollegeInsider.com
• NCAA-best Nine Academic All-America selections since 2001
• One of only 12 programs in nation with NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Distinction every year of existence
• Six of last nine Atlantic Sun Conference Male Student-Athletes of the Year recipients from Belmont men’s basketball
Head Coach Rick Byrd Highlights
• 610 career victories – one of only 12 active head coaches with 600+ career victories
• 518 career victories at Belmont – one of only five active head coaches with 500+victories at current school
For more information on Belmont Men’s Basketball, visit www.BelmontBruins.com.
Media, Duke Team Praise Belmont Performance
Though the Belmont Bruins men’s basketball team endured a heart-breaking loss to Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Thursday evening, the team earned new fans around the country with its impressive performance and competitive spirit. In addition to the responses shown below, Belmont University represented eight of the top 100 most frequent searches on Google last Thursday, including holding three of the top 10 spots.
Belmont-Duke Postgame Quotes:
“We played against a team that played an amazing game. They’re a very good team. We were ready to play. You won’t hear any of our players say that we overlooked them. There’s no way. Watching them on tape, they looked really good. Watching them in person, they’re even better. They played with a great verve, and they’re just real difficult to defend. And I thought they played really good defense against us. I’ve coached in 89 of these games now, I told the guys as far as game pressure goes, this had to rank in the top three or four, and hopefully, the people at Belmont take that as a real compliment because they should be complimented.”
Duke University Basketball Head Coach
Basketball Hall of Famer
“When you’ve got shooters like that one through five, it spreads the floor, it opens it up, and they’ve got some guys who can put the ball on the floor. They did a great job of keep playing, keep fighting. We tried to extend the lead a couple of times, but they deserve a lot of credit for either making a play either with a three or getting to the foul line. They’re a great team.”
Duke Point Guard
“Belmont’s a heck of a team. They run their offense really well. They’re real precise and sharp with their stuff, and they play hard. They took us to the last seconds; I commend them for the game they played.”
Duke Small Forward
“I think Belmont would have given most anybody in the country trouble the way they played tonight. Moving without the basketball and playing together; Belmont played the game of basketball very, very well tonight.”
Winningest College Basketball Coach in NCAA History
ESPN College Basketball Analyst
Basketball Hall of Famer
“For those in the know, those in the coaching community, this is no surprise. Rick Byrd is an outstanding coach; just go look at the track record. They’ve beaten some name programs in the past, and he puts his players in positions to succeed. Ask anybody in college basketball about Rick Byrd, and they’ll tell you, he’s a known commodity.”
Former UCLA Head Coach
ESPN College Basketball Analyst
“Mr. Hare and company should be commended, and Mr. Renfroe for attacking the basket; they were sensational.”
ESPN College Basketball Analyst
“It tells you everything you need to know about this NCAA first-rounder that after the game, Belmont wasn’t sad or depressed about missing the upset. The Bruins were flat-out angry that they let one slip away. And they should be. Belmont was the tougher team. Belmont took it to Duke, sometimes right down the gut or on slippery backdoors. The Bruins schooled and exposed the Blue Devils’ defense, and they put a searchlight on all the warts and worries that have dogged Duke all season. Put simply, the Devils and all their ACC heft and national titles and mystique and aura and NCAA tradition couldn’t guard the Bruins. ”
“Make no mistake: Belmont coach Rick Byrd had a winning game plan, and his players executed it almost perfectly. The Bruins had no fear of the so-called Duke mystique, and they were able to penetrate as well as shoot the three.”
“A Belmont victory would have done far more than mess up a bunch of peoples’ brackets; it would have been immeasurably gratifying to the numerous Duke ‘haters’ of the world. While the game won’t be remembered in tourney annals the way it might have had the Bruins prevailed, but Belmont’s players will remember it the rest of their lives.”
“Duke got lucky. The Blue Devils didn’t beat unheralded Belmont on Thursday as much as they survived it. They were outgunned. They were outhustled. And they were outplayed. But this night did not belong to Duke or (Gerald) Henderson. It belonged to Belmont, the 15th seed in the West Region and a nobody that came within seconds of pulling one of the biggest tournament upsets in years.”
“Thank god for Belmont, the little school that almost could, the kind that puts the mad in the first round of March Madness. Belmont darned near gave us the whole package — monster upset, Cinderella, etc. — and if the Bruins fell one point short of sending the exalted Dookies home, there’s no shame in that, nor does it diminish the thrill they gave us. They’re tough and unflappable and have higher grade-point averages than just about everybody. And they give the big guys fits.”
“There it was, plain as could be on the overhead scoreboard, orange numbering on a black background: As the closing seconds ticked away Thursday night, Belmont was beating Duke. Throughout Thursday, the teams’ body language was telling at timeouts. Belmont’s players skipped to the sideline and were met with high-fives, pats on the back and yells of encouragement. Duke’s players (in the lead but hardly thrilled) trudged over slowly, some looking at the floor.”
“They were smarter, they were better coached and they were more poised. They acted as if they had been here before, and they had. But it wasn’t his speed that almost beat the Blue Devils. It was backdoor cuts; Belmont beat them with backdoor cuts on consecutive plays in the first half. The play is as old as dust, as old as Neil Diamond. Belmont ran plays that Princeton long ago made famous. If Duke is the Harvard of North Carolina., Belmont is the Princeton of Tennessee.”
“Suddenly, I became the world’s biggest Belmont fan.”
“No. 15 seed Belmont came tantalizingly close to stunning second-seeded Duke in the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament Thursday night in a game that will most likely leave two distinct legacies.”
New York Times
On the heels of its historic third consecutive A-Sun Conference Tournament Championship, Belmont Basketball faced tradition-rich Duke in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Washington, D.C. with a near upset against the Blue Devils with a final score of 71-70.
Click here to read the rest of the story from Athletics.
Click here to view student coverage of the event.
In an inventive article in Thursday’s New York Times, reporter George Vecsey offers a lengthy profile of Belmont University that features the men’s basketball team’s third visit to the NCAA Tournament while also highlighting legendary alumna Sarah Cannon (Minnie Pearl).
Vecsey tells a story about Ms. Cannon that he first learned earlier this week in an interview with Belmont Music Business Professor Don Cusic, who is quoted in the article. Vecsey also writes, “I’m rooting for Belmont against the Dookies because I used hang out in Nashville, and I got to meet Belmont’s most popular alum — the Grand Ole Opry character with the moniker Minnie Pearl. The school might prefer to be known for its consistent grade-point average of over 3.0 for athletes — including the basketball team, which only a handful of teams in the final 64 could claim.”
Click here to read the New York Times article.
Belmont has appeared in a number of other major media outlets this week as well in response to the NCAA tournament. Click the links below to see additional coverage.
The Tennessean: ‘Bruins Stare at History’
The Tennessean: ‘Belmont coach shows off press conference comedy’
The Tennessean: ‘Belmont Star Picks Hospitals Over Hoops’