Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finding the Cinderella Team

In 2011, Rick Byrd's Belmont Bruins had what was probably one of the best seasons in Atlantic Sun history.  Belmont lost their season opener at Tennessee by nine, then rattled off five wins in a row before losing at Vanderbilt by nine. They got a rematch against Tennessee in late December, but lost that one by just a single point. However, the Bruins cruised through the Atlantic Sun, going 19-1 with some ridiculously lopsided victories. After winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament, the Bruins were given a 13 seed. They became a trendy upset pick, but were pretty much beaten wire to wire by Wisconsin.

Statistically, the 2011 Bruins had the nations 40th best offense and 23rd best defense. Better yet, the team was loaded with players returning for the 2012 season. All six Belmont players used on at least 20% of possessions they were in the game were returning for 2012. Belmont seemed poised to be capable of making a Davidson-esque run in March.