NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball (22-10) will face national power Virginia (29-3) of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
Belmont received a No. 15 seed and will face the second-seeded Cavaliers Friday from Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.
The game will tip at approximately 3:10 p.m. ET/2:10 p.m. CT (30 minutes following conclusion of Michigan State-Georgia) and will be broadcast nationally on truTV and the NCAA March Madness LIVE portal.
Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson will be on the call.
It will be a reunion of sorts for OVC Championship hero Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.), who played his freshman year at Virginia in 2012-13.
The game also features two of the most respected - and best-dressed - coaches in college basketball - Belmont's Rick Byrd and Virginia's Tony Bennett.
Belmont - making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years - will represent the Ohio Valley Conference for the second time in three years. Belmont joins Gonzaga of the West Coast Conference as only the two NCAA Division I men's basketball programs to earn seven NCAA Tournament automatic bids in the last 10 years.
The Bruins defeated then 25th-ranked Murray State, 88-87, March 7 to win the OVC Championship. Barnette sank a dramatic, fadeaway three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining to lift Belmont to victory.
In fact, just two years earlier, Kerron Johnson ('13) sank a 15-foot jumpshot in overtime to carry Belmont to a 70-68 victory over Murray State and propel the Bruins to the 'Big Dance.'
Belmont features All-OVC First Team and Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America selection Craig Bradshaw (Ridgetop, Tenn.) and All-OVC Second Team and NCAA Field Goal Percentage leader Evan Bradds (Jamestown, Ohio).
Belmont is 1-7 (1-6 NCAA Division I era) lifetime against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That includes an 83-80 victory at No. 11 North Carolina last season.
- Belmont is one of only five NCAA Division I-AAA (non-football) member institutions to appear in the NCAA Tournament seven of the last 10 years (Gonzaga, Marquette, VCU, Xavier)
- Belmont is an NCAA-best 22-3 in conference tournament games since 2006
- Belmont is third in NCAA Division I men's basketball with 14 conference championships since 2006 (seven regular season, seven tournament; Gonzaga, Kansas 16)
- Belmont entered the 2014-15 season as one of only six NCAA Division I programs to win 26 or more games each of the last four years (Duke, Florida, Syracuse, VCU, Wichita State)
- Belmont has made the second-most three-point field goals in the nation since going from the NAIA to NCAA Division I in 1996-97 (Duke)
- Belmont has ranked in the Top 30 nationally in scoring offense each of the last five seasons
- Since 2000-01, Belmont Basketball leads the nation in Academic All-Americans (12), which includes junior Craig Bradshaw this season
- Head Coach Rick Byrd is in his 29th season at Belmont. He ranks seventh among all active NCAA Division I head coaches in career wins (711)
- Belmont dropped three straight December games when Bradshaw was out due to injury