For those who don’t already know, Belmont Bruins guard Ian Clark is one of the most efficient bucket-makers in the entire nation. Clark, a senior, averages 18 points per game while shooting over .54 percent from the field. In fact, the sharpshooter is so deadly all over the court that he shoots over .46 percent from beyond the arc. For people who are bad at math, those are really swell numbers.
The Bruins are going to be kicking off their OVC Tournament run shortly. Being that they play in a smaller than mid-major conference, Belmont will likely have to win the tournament to get a birth in the NCAA Tournament.
While I sincerely hope the Selection Committee will grant them a pass regardless if they win it or not, the Bruins will have to rely on Clark to a much higher degree the rest of the way. Reason being: You have to ride the horse that got you there – even to the point of the horse’s death.
No, I am not saying that Belmont should ride Clark like a horse until he dies – that would be irresponsible, albeit darkly humorous. But with glass slipper ramifications on the line, there is no reason the Bruins should shy away from using their best offensive weapon to the point of nausea.
Usually, whenever I am unsure about a smaller program’s fate, I refer to fellow Rant Sports scribe Jake Fischer. Jake follows these levels of programs with great attention to detail. While many feel that the Bruins will need to win-out to earn their dancing slippers, Rant’s mid-major aficionado has made it point to mention their 23rd ranking in RPI and that they are having a far better year than the Drexel Dragons when they were on the cup of receiving an at-large bid last season.
Regardless if you fall on the Jake Fischer “they are already in” camp or the “they need to win the OVC” group, Belmont is going to look to do a lot of damage in the postseason. How far they will go will be directly tied to the horse that have ridden all year-long – Clark.
Now, let us make sure that horse doesn’t collapse out from exhaustion before things get interesting.
Really follow Jake @JakeLFischer for CAA hoops and beyond. One of the better writers going with great knowledge
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. And really follow Joe as well on Twitter @JosephNardone