Belmont vs. Wisconsin

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In this post I will break down what I believe to be the best first round matchup. It is quite odd that what could be considered the best first round matchup is actually a 4-13 game. In my opinion the committee fudged up Belmont's seeding. If the committee had used KenPom, they would know that Wisconsin is #9 (so they are underseeded), and Belmont is #18 (as a 13 seed, they are VASTLY underseeded).

This will come as no surprise to anybody who has talked to me this week, but Belmont is my sleeper pick. I absolutely hate their draw though. If they do manage to top Bo Ryan's club, they will likely face Utah State (another vastly underrated team) in the Round of 32. I like Utah State in that matchup, so that would essentially end the Bruins "Cinderella" run early.

Let's take a look at the Belmont-Wisconsin breakdown though

Click through for a statistical look at this critical first round matchup.

Belmont (30-4, Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament champions)

  • Category Offense Defense D-I Avg
    Adj. Efficiency 112.6 32 90.7 19 101.4
    Adj. Tempo 69.1 57 66.7
    Four Factors
    Effective FG%: 54.4 9 45.6 35 49.0
    Turnover %: 20.0 163 27.6 2 20.2
    Off. Reb. %: 37.9 14 32.5 192 32.3
    FTA/FGA: 38.0 163 45.9 304 37.9
    Miscellaneous Components
    3P%: 38.1 30 32.8 78 34.4
    2P%: 52.4 15 44.1 35 47.7
    FT%: 73.6 48 67.5 82 69.2
    Block%: 13.2 343 9.8 125 9.2
    Steal%: 9.9 231 13.9 2 9.4
    Style Components
    3PA/FGA: 42.2 18 30.3 95 32.9
    A/FGM: 59.5 55 53.2 152 53.7
    Defensive Fingerprint: Mostly Man  
    Point Distribution (% of total points)
    3-Pointers: 35.2 23 24.4 273 27.3
    2-Pointers: 44.3 329 50.3 221 51.6
    Free Throws: 20.5 220 25.3 24 21.1
    Strength of Schedule
    Components: 98.2 304 103.6 254 101.4
    Overall: .3487 290 .5000
    Non-conference: .5136 153 .5000
    Personnel
    Bench Minutes: 44.5% 4 30.7%
    Experience: 1.59 yrs 223 1.73
    Effective Height: +0.5 143 0.0
    Average Height: 77.0" 100 76.5"

  • Belmont relied on an extremely efficient and balanced offense to cruise their way to a 30-4 record this season. Their only losses came to Tennessee (x2), Vanderbilt, and Lipscomb. A knock on them is that they do not have any impressive wins. They played the 290th toughest schedule in the country (55th easiest), and lost their only "big games" of the year. It will be interesting to see how they come out against Wisconsin on Thursday night.

GAME STATISTICS
Player GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Ian Clark 34 24.6 12.4 2.4 1.9 1.3 0.2 1.5 .490 .813 .436
Mick Hedgepeth 34 21.9 10.6 6.0 0.6 0.6 0.6 1.4 .533 .715 .400
Scott Saunders 34 17.4 10.0 5.4 0.3 0.3 1.2 1.3 .516 .741 .000
Jordan Campbell 34 21.3 8.4 3.2 2.2 1.4 0.4 1.1 .492 .667 .460
Kerron Johnson 34 18.1 7.7 1.4 2.7 2.0 0.0 2.2 .504 .745 .462
Drew Hanlen 34 23.3 6.4 1.8 4.0 0.7 0.0 1.4 .354 .864 .346
J.J. Mann 34 15.6 6.1 2.3 1.0 0.9 0.0 0.9 .399 .652 .327
Jon House 34 19.0 5.4 3.4 1.7 0.9 0.2 1.3 .492 .683 .393
Trevor Noack 34 14.9 5.3 3.2 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.8 .405 .762 .302
Blake Jenkins 33 10.4 3.9 2.2 0.6 0.3 0.2 1.1 .447 .686 .321
Brandon Baker 34 12.2 3.2 2.0 0.6 0.7 0.4 0.7 .370 .643 .288
Adam Barnes 29 3.8 1.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.2 .591 .667 .600
Jonny Rice 1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000
Holden Mobley 1 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000
Totals 34 -- 80 36 16 10 3 14 .464 .737 .381

 

Wisconsin 23-8 (3rd in the Big ten, lost in Quarterfinals of BT tournament)


Category Offense Defense D-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency 123.6 2 95.6 63 101.4
Adj. Tempo 57.6 345 66.7
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 52.0 47 48.3 129 49.0
Turnover %: 13.1 1 16.9 322 20.2
Off. Reb. %: 34.6 95 27.4 12 32.3
FTA/FGA: 28.0 336 31.4 49 37.9
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 37.1 50 37.5 315 34.4
2P%: 49.5 93 45.1 68 47.7
FT%: 82.4 1 75.0 343 69.2
Block%: 6.0 2 9.1 163 9.2
Steal%: 6.5 4 6.0 343 9.4
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 40.5 29 28.7 47 32.9
A/FGM: 55.0 135 46.3 26 53.7
Defensive Fingerprint: Mostly Man  
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 35.5 20 26.9 181 27.3
2-Pointers: 46.4 298 53.5 107 51.6
Free Throws: 18.2 304 19.6 247 21.1
Strength of Schedule
Components: 108.6 9 97.8 34 101.4
Overall: .7698 14 .5000
Non-conference: .4572 203 .5000
Personnel
Bench Minutes: 23.8% 310 30.7%
Experience: 1.98 yrs 92 1.73
Effective Height: +2.6 35 0.0
Average Height: 77.7" 31 76.5

 

Wisconsin also relies on a balanced and efficient attack (2nd in the nation) to wear opponents down and defeat them. They have been known to be involved in very low scoring games (see the 36-33 loss to Penn State over the weekend as an example). This slower tempo makes them susceptible to losses to underdogs, and I think that may be their downfall on Thursday.

GAME STATISTICS
Player GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Jon Leuer 31 33.6 18.6 7.3 1.7 0.5 0.9 1.5 .477 .847 .378
Jordan Taylor 31 36.2 18.1 4.1 4.7 0.7 0.1 1.1 .453 .849 .433
Keaton Nankivil 31 28.4 10.0 4.4 0.7 0.5 1.2 0.9 .502 .848 .462
Josh Gasser 31 28.1 5.9 4.0 2.3 0.5 0.1 0.8 .470 .851 .305
Mike Bruesewitz 31 19.2 4.2 2.8 1.0 0.3 0.1 0.7 .458 .727 .308
Tim Jarmusz 31 22.9 3.6 2.1 1.2 0.5 0.0 0.3 .347 .905 .341
Ryan Evans 31 11.9 2.9 2.4 0.5 0.2 0.4 0.7 .313 .771 .000
Jared Berggren 26 7.0 2.3 1.1 0.3 0.0 0.4 0.5 .490 .615 .278
Rob Wilson 22 7.6 1.6 1.0 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.3 .333 .875 .059
Brett Valentyn 21 5.3 1.2 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2 .348 .500 .348
Ben Brust 14 3.2 0.7 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 .250 .000 .200
Wquinton Smith 24 5.3 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.2 .313 .333 .200
Duje Dukan 7 2.1 0.3 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .250 .000 .000
J.P. Gavinski 5 1.8 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 .000 .500 .000
Dan Fahey 3 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000
J.D. Wise 1 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000
Totals 31 -- 68 32 13 3 3 7 .445 .824 .371

 

Projections:

KenPom- Wisconsin 66-63 (61%)

ESPN- Wisconsin (69%)

BSD Secret Formula- Wisconsin 68-66

My Prediction: Belmont 71-66

I predict that Belmont will ride the heels of Head Coach Rick Byrd to victory. This is not the best matchup for them, but Wisconsin is a team that struggled over the weekend. Belmont has won 12 straight games and will be extremely confident coming in to Thursday night’s matchup with the Badgers. I would expect the Bruins to get hot from outside early, putting pressure on Wisconsin to make up some ground, which is clearly not their strong suit. This should be a very entertaining game to watch, and I think it will be one of the best three first round matchups.

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