TUCSON, Ariz. - - Belmont Basketball faces Wisconsin in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
The Bruins defeated North Florida, 87-46, Mar. 5 to claim their fourth Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament title in the past six years. Junior Mick Hedgepeth scored a career-high tying 23 points in the championship game en route to Atlantic Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
The Bruins have two seniors on the active roster, captain Jon House and Jordan Campbell. House and Campbell were the lone team members to represent Belmont in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, where the 15-seeded Bruins dropped a 71-70 decision to four-time National Champion Duke.
Belmont head coach Rick Byrd has utilized his deep and talented bench from the outset, and it has reaped major dividends. The Bruins have 11 players averaging double figure minutes, with a 12th player (Adam Barnes) having seen action in 28 games.
The Belmont-Wisconsin game will feature two of the winningest head coaches in all of college basketball: Belmont's Rick Byrd and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan. Byrd (610) and Ryan (623) are two of only 12 active Division I men's basketball head coaches with 600 or more career victories.
The game also sports two of the nation's leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio: Belmont's Drew Hanlen (seventh) and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor (first).
Belmont enters the NCAA Tournament having won 12 consecutive games and 21 of its last 22 games.