Updated: Apr 25, 2022
In a sea of orange and white at Thomson-Boling Arena, there’s a loud, proud island of red and blue.
Five busloads of students and faculty made their way to Knoxville to cheer the Bruins on in their second-round showdown of NCAA Tournament play, while back in Nashville, others kept the spirit of the game alive at a primetime screening on Belmont’s main lawn.
As women’s basketball faces the biggest game in program history against No. 4 University of Tennessee, the Bruins have an unstoppable, unsilenceable force of support behind them Monday — even though they’re playing on the opponent’s home court.
Belmont fans are hopeful this will be a game for the ages.
“I want to see a lot of threes made and a big upset,” said sophomore Marc Iacomo from the live screening on campus. “I think they’re pretty impressive for making it this far … considering they’re only a 12-seed.”
The lawn watch party Monday. Lexie Germany / Belmont Vision
Many made the three-hour bus trip to Knoxville to hype up the Bruins in person as they battle it out with the Vols, a tough opponent after Belmont’s upset victory against the University of Oregon Ducks on Saturday.
“They were underdogs that no one thought would beat Oregon, and we did it. Maybe this will be a Cinderella story,” said sophomore Chandler Yow, who also made the trip to Knoxville to add her voice to the student section.
Belmont has never made it past the Round of 32 in NCAA Tournament play, but students are out in full force to show their support for one of Belmont’s strongest teams.
Many in the stands also recognize that women’s March Madness doesn’t draw the same national hype that the men’s dance does.
“It’s so underrated and it’s so sad, but it’s cool that it can still bring the same level of excitement. But it’s sad that it takes such a big upset to get that,” said senior Aubrey Mullaney, another student who made the trip see the Belmont women fight for their spot on the national stage.
Whatever happens in this dance, one thing is clear: it’s Bruin time.
PHOTO: The Belmont student section at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday’s second-round game. Sarah Maninger / Belmont Vision
This article was written by Anna Jackson. Contributory reporting by Nico Ingram and Lexie Germany.