Just another game for a coach with 400 plus victories, whose star player plays the wing and is a 3 point marksman and whose season hinges on a post player who has foot problems. Must be talking about Stanford, right? Nope, it's the Bruins of Belmont.
Belmont's coach is Rick Bryd who has compiled 414 wins in his 20-year career and may be the best coach who coaches a team called the Bruins. Their best player is 6-5 Wes Burtner who averaged 20 points a game last year and is shooting at a 50% clip so far this year. Adam Sonn is a 6-8 center who played a key role in their victories over Georgia State and Valparaiso. Sonn is listed as questionable for the Stanford Invitational due to a stress fracture. He played 11 minutes Sunday vs. Stetson, Belmont scores a lot of points off free throws. That is where the similarities end however.
The Bruins will be hoisting up three point shots as soon as they get off the bus. Belmont was second only to Duke last year in 3-point attempts made at 10.3 per game. The have been the only school to rank in the top three in that category for the last 3 years. This year is no different. In an odd stat, when Belmont wins, approximately 66% of their points come from three-point land and free throws. Do they have an inside game? Why do they get fouled so much? Those questions and more will be answered Tuesday night.
The Bruin offense will remind Booties of Princeton, Oregon State last year and Southern Utah this year. They will run a high post motion offense. We will see a lot of screens and back cuts. The majority of the offense runs through the high post. Adam Sonn runs the offense to perfection. 6-10 Scott Blackwell and 6-8 Adam Mark will be asked to take over running the post if Sonn can't go. Over-play the perimeter and get back doored. Give the wings some space and they shoot the 3.
Most nights the Bruins play man to man. They did however, beat Lefty Driesell's Georgia State team using a 2-3 zone that turned into a 3-2. They will half court trap on occasion. The Bruins are holding opponents to under 40% from the field.
|40||Wes Burtner||6-5||Sr||24 vs. Stetson Sunday|
|44||Adam Mark||6-8||So||32 vs. Stetson Sunday|
|14||Steve Drabym||6-0||So||Instant offense - went for 21 points vs. Georgia St.|
|13||Adam Sonn||6-8||Jr||24 points, 9 assists vs. Valpo|
What to Look for
This should be a good game for Stanford to work on their perimeter defense. Our post players and others will need to provide weak side help vs. the back door. I look for Justin to get a lot of touches down low to help him develop his game. Likewise; I see Casey taking three pointer after three pointer. School's out and the kids can concentrate on basketball – the way it should be :). This could be a great tournament for Chris Hernandez to get serious PT and the feel of the offense.
Belmont will be a pesky team who will play hard for 40 minutes. If the Cardinal doesn't come to play and if Belmont gets hot from 3-point land, it could be a closer game than us Booties would like. The Cardinal will need to defend the perimeter! The possible shootout between Casey and Burtner will be worth watching.