Belmont came into the tournament as the top seed from the East Division of the Ohio Valley Conference. It only suffered two losses in conference play all year while earning 14 victories. One of those two losses came against its opponent in the final, Eastern Kentucky.
EKU is fighting for a chance to keep its season alive. Nobody has the Colonels making the Big Dance as an at-large team. Belmont on the other hand, has a chance at making the Tourney without winning the OVC tournament. Before the action on Friday that advanced the two teams into the final, SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean had Belmont as a 13-seed. ESPN's Joe Lunardi lists Belmont as a 14-seed. Either way, Belmont most certainly wants to secure a spot in the Big Dance with a win. Eastern Kentucky has no other hope.
EKU is going to rely heavily on senior point guard Glenn Cosey. He used his first two years of eligibility playing for Columbia Community College, but is now the undisputed leader of the Colonels. The 6'0 guard is the team's leading scorer with 18.7 points per game and also is the main man in the assists department, dishing out over four per game. His 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio is the second-best in the conference.
The Bruins have a trio of players who it relies on; and with six of the top seven players in Belmont's rotation sporting an O-Rating better than 110, the offense is nearly unstoppable. The leading scorer for the Bruins is gunner J.J. Mann. The senior wing has put up 196 threes this season, good for top-five in the conference. Mann is also tied on the team lead in rebounding.
The other two heads of Belmont's big three are point guard Reece Chamberlain and wing Craig Bradshaw. Bradshaw is a sophomore who really burst onto the scene this season. He averaged less than 10 minutes per game last season, scoring 2.2 points per game. He now scores more than 15 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field.
Chamberlain is a junior who saw his minutes spike as well this season. He responded by leading the team in assists with 5.2 per game while scoring in the double digits on average.