Belmont Bruins at Lipscomb Bison
Friday, November 8, 7PM (ESPN3)
Allen Arena and the Curb Event Center, both in the heart of Nashville, are located less than three miles apart. The close proximity of the two schools along with a fierce basketball rivalry has turned Lipscomb's and Belmont's twice annual meeting into the "Battle of the Boulevard".
Since 1953, the Bruins and Bison have competed a total of 132 times. Although not noticeable in recent years, Lipscomb leads the total series 73-59. Most of those Bison' wins came back in the 80s and 90s when both teams were still in the NAIA. Since both teams have transitioned to the NCAA, Belmont has gotten the better of down the street rival Lipscomb, winning 12 of 21 and the last three.
This season however, with Casey Alexander now at the helm for the Bison, a new facet of this rivalry will start once again. Alexander served as an assistant for 16 years under Belmont's Rick Byrd. Prior to that, Alexander also played under Byrd at Belmont. There is clearly a lot of rich history between Alexander and Byrd.
"Outside of those who share the DNA, there's not one person anywhere that's made me more the man I am today the guying sitting right back there Rick Byrd," Alexander said (via Lipscomb Sports).
"Casey played and coached for me and I can say that he is as competitive as any player I’ve ever coached. "He is a great leader. He was born to coach and is an outstanding teacher of the game," Byrd said in a Lipscomb press release.
During Alexander's time at Belmont, the Bruins went 287-203 with four NCAA appearances. Now after a brief stint with Stetson, he will hope to bring that success over to the other side of the Battle of the Boulevard. He will work with a Bison squad that returns Khion Sankey and the Smith twins.
On the other end, the veteran Byrd will be working with a team that lost key leaders Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark but returns a talented front court. They look to repeat the success found in their first season in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tune in to ESPN3 for this mentor versus apprentice showdown.