2015 NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
SECOND ROUND - EAST REGION
No. 15 Belmont (22-10) vs. No. 2 Virginia (29-3)
Charlotte, N.C. - Time Warner Cable Arena
Friday, March 20, 2015
3:10 p.m. ET/2:10 p.m. CT
TV: truTV (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson)
truTV in Nashville (Comcast Ch. 1351, AT&T Ch. 1164, DirecTV Ch. 246, Dish Network Ch. 242, Belmont University Ch. 53)
Radio: Westwood One (Gary Cohen, Kelly Tripucka)
Bruin Sports Network, 104.5 The Zone (Kevin Ingram, Greg Sage)
Online Video: NCAA.com/march-madness
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - - Belmont University men's basketball (22-10) returns to game action Friday versus Atlantic Coast Conference Champion [6/6] Virginia (29-3) in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
The Bruins defeated No. 25 Murray State March 7, 88-87, to win the OVC Tournament Championship and secure a seventh NCAA Tournament automatic bid in 10 years. Sophomore Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) sank the game-winning three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining.
Barnette, who was named OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player, played his freshman season at Virginia. In 2012-13, Barnette saw action in 26 games in with two starts. He averaged 2.6 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists and 9.5 minutes per game. Barnette's sister, Sarah Beth, is a member of the University of Virginia women's basketball team.
Belmont and Gonzaga are the only two NCAA Division I Men's Basketball programs in the nation to earn NCAA Tournament automatic bids seven of the last 10 years.
The Bruins have adjusted to life after J.J. Mann, Blake Jenkins and Drew Windler, as all three were lost to graduation. Mann, who was named AP Honorable Mention All-America and OVC Player of the Year in 2014, scored a Belmont NCAA-era single-season record 660 points a year ago. Mann and Jenkins combined to win 109 games over their four years.
Despite making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons, Belmont's current roster has played a total of 40 career minutes in the NCAA Tournament (Chamberlain 31, Bradshaw 4, Mobley 3, Laidig 1, Turner 1). 10 of Belmont's 15 roster members are making their debut appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Belmont is fourth nationally in two-point field goal percentage (.562) and Virginia is third nationally in two-point field goal percentage defense (.395).
Belmont and Virginia have two common opponents this season: Tennessee State and VCU.
Belmont is 1-7 (1-6 NCAA Division I era) lifetime against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That includes victory at No. 11 North Carolina last season.
This marks the second meeting between Belmont and Virginia. The Bruins dropped a 94-74 decision to the Cavaliers Dec. 28, 1999. Virginia was head coached by Pete Gillen.
Ironically, Belmont head coach Rick Byrd missed the previous meeting with Virginia due to illness.
Byrd ranks seventh among all active NCAA Div. I head coaches in career wins (711).
He had the first victory of his coaching career in the state of North Carolina. Coaching Maryville (TN) College in 1978-79, Byrd earned victory over St. Andrews (NC) College in Laurinburg.
Belmont's second NCAA Tournament appearance (2007) was also in the state of North Carolina. The Bruins played Georgetown at LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem.
Belmont Basketball has won 20+ games and earned postseason play nine of the last 10 years.
Since 2000-01, Belmont Basketball leads the nation in Academic All-Americans (12), which includes junior Craig Bradshaw (Ridgetop, Tenn.) this season.
For the second time in three years, Belmont University men's basketball won the National Championship in the academic bracket on InsideHigherEd.com - based on Academic Progress Rate (APR) and Graduation Success Rate (GSR) scores.
Belmont will meet with the media from 12:05-12:40pmET Thursday, before taking part in an open practice at Time Warner Cable Arena from 12:45-1:25pmET.