Aug 31, 2013, 3:50 PM EST
Last year, Rick Byrd put together a schedule that gave Belmont some tough tests. According to the Nashville Tennesseean, the Bruins played the No. 2 strength of schedule – traveling to Stanford, VCU and Kansas – and ended up with a top-25 RPI in 2012-13.
Pretty impressive, but this year’s slate might be even more brutal.
Belmont, long considered to be one of the gutsiest low-major squads in the nation, will travel to Chapel Hill to battle the Tar Heels on November 17th. Then they’ll hit Rupp Arena to take on John Calipari’s loaded Wildcats on December 21st. They’re opening the season with a “road trip” to play crosstown rival and former conference foe Lipscomb and will travel to Richmond early on as well.
The Bruins get a rest of sorts when they play VCU, simply because they somehow convinced Shaka Smart to give them a return date in Nashville, so they’ll get a raucous home crowd to egg them on in the face of Havoc.
Playing in the OVC, Byrd doesn’t have much hope of gaining an at-large bid, even if his squad comes in second to fellow giant-slayer Murray State. He knows this, so these early-season tests will not only earn his program a tidy pair of paychecks, but maybe they’ll prepare the Bruins to win the OVC auto-bid again and a chance for a program-defining March win or two.
- For the first time in months, No. 22 Michigan State and Keith Appling look healthy 0
- Senior starters once again lead the way for No. 15 Cincinnati 0
- Doug McDermott’s career still missing the most important part: His One Shining Moment 2
- Bryce Cotton, Providence’s marathon man, looking to lead the Friars on a run to the NCAA tournament 2
- Bubble Banter: Colorado, Dayton the day’s biggest winners 2
- After win at No. 18 SMU, No. 11 Louisville is once again peaking in March 0
- Wake Forest beats No. 4 Duke as Blue Devils struggle to score again 1
- Undefeated regular season says all we need to know about No. 2 Wichita State (9)
- No. 7 Syracuse falls to Georgia Tech in a shocking home loss (9)
- Finally at full strength, Michigan State sleepwalks through loss to Illinois (6)
- Kentucky hits rock bottom, loses at South Carolina (6)
- College Basketball Talk’s latest Top 25 (6)