NCAA Basketball

Belmont Bruins Redefining Home-Court Advantage at the Curb Event Center

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

In their inaugural season in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Belmont Bruins sure have ruffled a lot of feathers. They’ve raced out to an 8-0 mark in conference and sent a memo to the rest of the league that the Curb Event Center is no place to go if teams are looking for a win. In OVC home games, the Bruins are winning by a staggering margin–22.8 points per game.

With seating for just over 5,000 fans, the size of the CEC doesn’t instill fear in the opposition nearly as much as the Bruins have this season. It’s not a noisy atmosphere that rattles visitors. At 17-4 overall and 8-0 at home, Belmont loves playing on their home floor. And why wouldn’t they? They’ve won 105 of the 125 games (84%) they’ve played there since it opened in 2003.

It’s one of the smaller venues on the mid-major arena trail but Belmont plays like giants at home. Unlike big-time colleges and universities, Belmont plays all home games at one location–the CEC. Connecticut, for example, splits their home games between the on-campus Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center located in Hartford.

It’s located right in the heart of Nashville and Music Row, so maybe the nightlife, noise and music has visitors staying up late at night. Or maybe it’s just that the Bruins are simply good enough to bludgeon teams visiting Nashville. Belmont has won 15-straight home games (10th-longest streak nationally) and has been victorious in 36 of its past 37 at the CEC, with their only loss during the streak an 85-74 loss to Nashville-rival Lipscomb last year. They returned the favor twice this year–opening night on Lipscomb’s home court with a 29-point beat-down and then again a month later with a 34-point drubbing at home.

Belmont has managed a better home winning percentage than schools like Maryland, Davidson and St. John’s. Granted two of the three play in better conferences, but still, you have to win at home.

And they’re winning games despite not even selling it out. In fact, they only average about 2,500 a game, so they’re dominating in a half-full arena.

So just because a school doesn’t have a 10,000 seat, state-of-the-art, high-tech arena doesn’t mean they can’t dominate at home. Look at Duke, they play in the 74-year-old, 9,314-seat Cameron Indoor Stadium that is packed to the rafters every game and their home-court advantage is considered to be one of the best in college basketball.

Belmont is turning the Curb Event Center into Cameron Indoor Jr. The next test is tonight against Morehead State.