Can Rick Byrd lead Belmont to another Atlantic Sun tournament title?
Dates: March 2-5
Bracket: Atlantic Sun
Sites: The Atlantic Sun tournament will be played in Macon, GA on the campus of Mercer University.
Television: Semifinals on CSS; Championship on ESPN2.
The top eight teams qualify for the conference tournament. Florida Gulf Coast is not eligible for the post season tournament this year.
Belmont (27-4, 19-1) dominated the Atlantic Sun during the regular season with its only loss on the road at Lipscomb. The Bruins also played SEC powers Tennessee and Vanderbilt tough in their preseason schedule. Anything less than a tourney championship would be a major disappointment for coach Rick Byrd and his team.
Best of the Rest:
East Tennessee St. (21-10, 16-4) was the runner up in the conference and added some quality wins over the likes of Dayton and Mississippi St during the preseason. The Bucs have won 17 of their last 20 but two of those losses were to Belmont.
Jacksonville (19-10, 13-7) has hung around the top of the league all season. However, the Dolphins dropped the last two games of the regular season to bottom feeders Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast.
Why not the tournament host? Mercer (14-17, 11-9) has played well down the stretch winning six of their last eight. Brian Mills and Jeff Smith are capable of carrying the Bears to the championship game.