Men's Basketball Picked to Defend Atlantic Sun Championship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball has been picked to defend its Atlantic Sun Conference championship, this according to the preseason coaches' poll released by the league Wednesday.

Seniors Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) and Scott Saunders (New Orleans, La.) and junior Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) were named to the Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team. Each earned all-conference honors last season.

The Bruins, who went 30-5 in 2010-11 and earned an automatic bid to its fourth NCAA Tournament in the last six years, return 10 letterwinners and 83 percent of their point production from a year ago.

Belmont received 97 voting points and eight of 10 first-place votes in the preseason coaches' poll. The Bruins received 28 of 29 first-place votes in the preseason media poll.

"I'm not a fan of preseason polls, I just don't put any stock in them at all," Belmont head coach Rick Byrd said. "The majority of the years we've been in the Atlantic Sun, the team picked to win the league has not done so. We appreciate that coaches and media members think highly of our program, but standings at the end of the year matter. I believe our players understand that."

Belmont opens the 2011-12 campaign Friday, Nov. 11 at Duke as part of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

The Bruins will host their annual Meet The Bruins Night  presented by Pepsi Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6:00 p.m. in the Curb Event Center

For information on purchasing season tickets, contact the Curb Event Center Box Office at (615) 460-BALL or visit the Bruins Online at www.belmontbruins.com.

Official Atlantic Sun Conference Release