You might be perusing the college basketball and mid-major slate this week and notice things look to be a little slow. It always happens this time of year with exam week wrecking all the rhythm we've had mounting since November 14. One game you won't see on the TV slate today but you can and should check out for free is Evansville visiting Belmont. You can catch the game streaming on the OVC Digital Network.
This 8 PM eastern tip features the recently #15 ranked Bruins, in our MMM15 rankings, and a hot 6-1 Evansville Purple Aces team who has also spent some time in our rankings. The Ohio Valley versus Missouri Valley match up is the first between these two teams since 2009 when Belmont took down the Purple Aces 92-76 in Evansville.
Belmont has not lost since opening night when they dropped a game against Wright State. That fact is important to remember because the Bruins play the Raiders once again on Thursday and they may just be looking ahead a bit.
Rick Byrd's squad is lead by guard Craig Bradshaw, who has made us all quickly forget about J.J. Mann. The 6'3 senior is averaging 21.2 points per game this year and is also contributing 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists. His play even netted him our national Player of the Week honors a few weeks ago.
The secondary and tertiary options for Byrd are two players both averaging 13.1 points per contest in Evan Bradds and Taylor Barnette. Bradds is also the Bruins leader in rebounds with 6.6 per game. Don't forget about Reece Chamberlain either; he can heat up at any time and is leading the OVC in assists with 5.6 per outing.
Evansville has a three headed monster of their own in
Brzoia, a Croatian sharpshooter, has been great off the bench for Marty Simmons contributing 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The sophomore is a real "x-factor" in Tuesday night's contest.
I'll take Evansville for the upset 71-68. No matter what happens this should be a good one and the winner will likely find themselves in our MMM15 come next Monday.