Waiting has seemingly become common for the Belmont Bruins during the last few days.
Eight days after clinching a bid the NCAA tournament, the Bruins were nearly the last team announced to play in the NCAA tournament Sunday evening.
“We were wondering if they forgot about us for a second, but I like it. I like the anticipation. It makes it even more exciting when they do call us out,” said senior forward Mick Hedgepeth.
Despite the late announcement, Belmont, seeded as the No. 14 team in the Midwest region, will face the No. 3 seed Georgetown Hoyas on Friday in Columbus, Ohio in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The bid, the Bruins’ fifth in seven years, comes during the team’s 14-game winning streak that is tied for the longest in the country. Senior Drew Hanlen said the team has grown since the streak began because of the team’s commitment to what he called the little things.
“I’ve think we became a better team because of that and I also think we got into a groove at that time,” Hanlen said. “We’ve got a little rolling and we’re finding which pieces need to fit together.”
While the Bruins will take that groove to Columbus on Friday, they will go up a against a Georgetown team which defeated the Bruins in the NCAA tournament four seasons ago.
This year, the Hoyas defeated NCAA tournament teams like Memphis, Louisville, Notre Dame and Marquette during their 22-8 season in the Big East. They have the seventh-best adjusted defense in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy, and also allowed the lowest percentage of 3-pointers in the country.
“It’s a task for sure, but this is certainly a good team,” said head coach Rick Byrd, “and I’ll think they’ll take the floor expecting to win.”
After going to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, Hedgepeth said he and the team’s other seniors are ready to take the next step with the program.
“We’ve been successful in our conference, and made the NCAA tournament. The only thing left is to go win some games,” he said.
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