If you're looking for a 13th seed to upset a fourth seed in your 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket, Belmont just may be your team. Consider the Bruins, who will face Wisconsin in the Southeast regional, are the No. 18 team in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy's rankings. Yet there was Belmont on Selection Sunday, receiving a lower-half seed, paired against the Badgers in the first round. The Bruins resume may not be impressive, or littered with top-50 teams, but Belmont has taken care of business just about all season. On Thursday at 7:27 p.m., the Bruins and Badgers take the floor in Tucson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin finished third in the Big Ten this season, behind Ohio State and Purdue. In the Big Ten Tournament, though, the Badgers and Penn State played one of the uglier games of basketball in recent memory as the Nittany Lions knocked Wisconsin out, 36-33. That's not a halftime score, it's a product of two slow-down teams playing a 44 possession game.
Belmont won the Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament title, losing only once to a conference foe -- Lipscomb in January. Belmont lost just four times on the year, dropping two non-conference games to Tennessee and one to Vanderbilt along with the aforementioned Lipscomb game. All told, the Bruins have done exactly as they should have in 2011: Take care of business and win the games they need.
Star Watch: There's two for the Bruins: Ian Clark and Mick Hedgepeth. Both post offensive efficiencies above 115, with Clark the best shooter on the team, by eFG percentage. For Wisconsin, keep an eye on Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor. Leuer uses the most possessions on the team while Taylor has a ridiculous 130.3 offensive efficiency, ranked No. 11 in the nation.
Prediction: I get the feeling this game will be close; Wisconsin's pace and style almost guarantee it. It's a toss-up, so I'll go with the upset and take Belmont, 60-59. Don't hold me to it.
Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for the East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.
Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.