2011 NCAA Tournament: Scouting The Field: Belmont Bruins

Mike ArrowsmithCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2011

Jordan Campbell looks to lead the Bruins back to the promise land.
Jordan Campbell looks to lead the Bruins back to the promise land.Win McNamee/Getty Images

As we continue our run through college basketball's conference leaders, today we take an inside look at the Atlantic Sun leading Belmont Bruins.  After posting a record of 20-4, the Bruins have raced out to the front of the conference with a record of 12-1 in Atlantic Sun play. 

With the regular season almost three quarters of the way done, the Bruins have proven to be a dominant force in the Atlantic Sun with key wins over East Tennessee State, Jacksonville and Lipscomb, who are respectively second, third and fourth in the conference standings.

Belmont is led by a trio of double digit scorers.  Sophomore Ian Clark paces the Bruins with 11.2 points per game.  The Bruins have also established a strong game in the paint, with juniors Scott Saunders and Mick Hedgepeth averaging 10.5 and 10.4 points per game.  As a team, Belmont has one of the most electrifying offenses in college basketball with 81.6 points per game.  This paces the Bruins to be the 11th best offense in the nation.  

The Bruins road to it's fourth NCAA Tournament berth is anything but a sure thing.  They are currently clinging to a one game lead in the conference standings, with key games against East Tennessee State and Jacksonville to come.  Just over a week ago, they showed that they are vulnerable in conference play by losing to Lipscomb on the road 73-64.

Should Belmont make the NCAA tournament, they certainly would be a fun team to watch.  Back in 2008, the Bruins entered the tournament as a 15 seed and nearly beat out second seeded Duke in a 71-70 dogfight.   Jordan Campbell and Jon House are the only surviving members of that squad.  Campbell put up seven points in 22 minutes of action and House added four points in 12 minutes in their freshman appearance in the Big Dance.  Both players are looking to play even bigger roles this season in their senior campaigns.  

Up Next: Big 12: Texas Longhorns 19-3

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