Underdog Belmont might not beat Arizona in Thursday night’s NCAA Tournament game at EnergySolutions Arena, but the Bruins aren’t intimidated.
Belmont has already played one Pac-12 team this season. As the Wildcats have probably noticed, the Bruins went to Stanford and beat the Cardinal, 70-62.
"The Stanford game was a fight," said Belmont’s Trevor Noack. "I feel like this one is going to be the same way."
Like many matchups between mid-majors and teams from power conferences, this game could come down Belmont’s ability to deal with Arizona’s size.
Again, the Bruins have been there, done that.
"It’s just going to be a battle," said Noack, who stands 6-foot-7, weighs 240 pounds and is Belmont’s biggest starter.
"You’ve got to push on them as much as you can and not let them get position. That’s the big thing. If they get position, then there isn’t a whole lot you can do."
When he was asked about Arizona’s size advantage — the Wildcats use four players who are at least 6-foot-10 — senior guard Kerron Johnson shook his head.
"Of course they’re big," he said. "We’ve already covered that. They’re going to be big, but we’re never the biggest team on the court. We’ve learned how to prepare for that and get over that obstacle. We’ll do it again."
Offensively, Belmont averages 77.2 points a game and shoots 39 percent from the 3-point line.
"We haven’t changed our game plan," said senior guard Ian Clark, who averages 18.1 points. "We’re going to come out and play Belmont basketball and go from there."
Arizona coach Sean Miller, who downplays the difference between a No. 6 seed and a No. 11 seed, has seen enough of Belmont to know his team must be ready for a battle.
"We’re going to have to play one heck of a game to have a chance to advance," he said.
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