NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - For the fourth time in the last five weeks, Belmont University men's basketball is among those receiving votes in both national polls.
The Bruins received three Top 25 votes in the Associated Press poll and four Top 25 votes in the USA Today Coaches' poll.
Belmont (24-6, 14-2 OVC) defeated SIU Edwardsville and Jacksonville State this past week to secure the program's fourth consecutive regular season conference championship (Atlantic Sun '10, '11, '12; OVC '13) and sixth in the last eight years. The Bruins will hold the No. 1 seed in the upcoming OVC Tournament.
As of Mar. 4, Belmont is No. 23 in the RPI, and No. 2 in non-conference strength of schedule. The Bruins have held an RPI between 20 and 30 the entire season. Belmont is 6-2 against the RPI Top 100, including 5-0 vs. No. 51-100. Belmont also ranks among the NCAA leaders in victories away from home (11).
This marks the fifth time in 2012-13 that Belmont has received national Top 25 votes; in addition to the last month, Belmont received three USA Today Coaches' Poll votes on Nov. 19.
Belmont has received national poll votes in three consecutive seasons, including the final nine weeks of the 2010-11 season in which the Bruins went 30-5.
The Bruins rank in the top 20 nationally in nine NCAA statistical categories, including fourth in field goal percentage and sixth in steals per game.
The senior backcourt duo of Kerron Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) and Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) continue to lead the way for the Bruins. Johnson scored a career-high 26 points against Jacksonville State Mar. 2, extending Belmont's home court winning streak to 20 games (third-longest in the nation behind South Dakota State and Marquette). Meanwhile, Clark, who was named a candidate for the Naismith and Lou Henson National Player of the Year awards this past week, ranks third nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.462).
Belmont returns to action Friday, Mar. 8 in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Semifinals. Tip-of is set for 6 p.m. CT from Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
For OVC Tournament ticket information, log onto belmontbruins.com.