NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Belmont

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: Ohio Valley

Coach: Rick Byrd

Record: 26-6, 14-2

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 42
– RPI: 23
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Belmont as a No. 12 seed in Friday’s Bracket Projection, and they actually had a strong enough profile to contend for an at-large bid.

Names you need to know: Ian Clark (18.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 46.9% 3PT), Kerron Johnson (13.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 1.7 spg)

Stats you need to know: Belmont can shoot it with the best of them. Their effective field goal percentage is second nationally, and they hit 38.0% of their threes as a team.

Tendencies: Belmont still likes to press and still wants to get into an uptempo game by using their terrific back court of Ian Clark (who was named co-Conference Player of the Year with Isaiah Canaan and defensive Player of the Year) Kerron Johnson to force turnovers. But Byrd has installed a ball-screen heavy offensive this year that takes advantage of the ability of those two veteran playmakers.

Big wins, bad losses: The Bruins have three good wins this season, beating Stanford in Palo Alto and knocking off Middle Tennessee State and Ohio at home. They have no horrific losses, but losing at Murray State and Tennessee State didn’t help their profile in league play.

How’d they get here?: The Bruins won the Ohio Valley Conference championship in thrilling fashion, thanks to this pull-up jumper from Kerron Johnson.

Outlook: Once again, Belmont is going to end up being one of those mid-majors that everyone thinks has a chance, with the right matchup, to make a run to the Sweet 16. They don’t have much size and they have a tendency to get crushed on the glass, but Clark and Johnson will not be outplayed any back court in the country — I truly believe that — and with this team’s ability to shoot it from deep at all five positions, all they need is one night where they get hot to pull an upset.

How do I know you? Despite never winning an NCAA tournament game, the Bruins have been a Cinderella candidate for much of the last decade. They took Duke to the wire in 2008, and have faced blue bloods UCLA, Wisconsin and Georgetown (twice).

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.