Belmont-Georgia NIT Game Preview

Belmont-Georgia NIT Game Preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Wednesday at Georgia in the first round of the 2016 Postseason NIT.

The Bruins (20-11) won the OVC regular season championship, their eighth conference regular season title in 11 seasons.

However, after posting an NCAA-best 22-3 record in conference tournaments from 2006-2015, Belmont dropped a heartbreaking 97-96 overtime decision to Austin Peay March 4 as Craig Bradshaw's game-winning putback basket was overturned on video review.

This marks Belmont's 10th postseason appearance in the last 11 years. The Bruins made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Belmont has won 15 conference championships (seven tournament, eight regular season) since 2006. Only Kansas and Gonzaga have won more conference championships over that span. 

Belmont is making its third Postseason NIT appearance (2004, 2014, 2016). In 2014, as a No. 5 seed the Bruins earned victories over Horizon League champion Green Bay and Northeast Conference champion Robert Morris to reach the NIT quarterfinals.

Belmont and Georgia saw each other in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, with each taking part in the Charlotte pod of the East region. The Bruins played Virginia, while the Bulldogs played Michigan State.

Belmont head coach Rick Byrd was named 2011 Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year - an award named after the longtime Georgia head coach. In fact, Byrd and Durham coached against each other for four seasons (2001-05) as Durham concluded his coaching career at Jacksonville University in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Belmont women's basketball head coach Cameron Newbauer spent two stints as an assistant coach at Georgia; from 2003-07 on the men's side and from 2008-12 on the women's side. Newbauer has led the Belmont women's basketball team into the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Belmont has one victory over Southeastern Conference opposition, winning at Alabama, 85-83 (11/19/07). Former Belmont guard Justin Hare ('08) made a game-winning jumper with 2.2 seconds remaining. Following the game, former Alabama and current North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried said, "Belmont doesn't have shot takers; Belmont has shot makers."

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT from Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app.

The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network. In-game updates will be provided via Twitter @BelmontMBB.

Tickets can be ordered online through www.georgiadogs.com.

Belmont at Georgia NIT Game Notes