Belmont Women’s Basketball Unveil 2021-22 Schedule

Featured L-R: Tuti Jones, Destinee Wells, Jamilyn Kinney, Madison Bartley and Conley Chinn of the Belmont Women’s Basketball Team. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

The Belmont women’s basketball team has released its 2021-22 season schedule which includes match-ups with Louisville, UCF, and Arkansas along with other Power Five schools.

The Bruins are coming off one of their most successful seasons ever, winning another Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title and then winning their first ever NCAA Tournament game against Gonzaga 64-59 in the Round of 64. This season, the Bruins have a difficult 11-game non-conference stretch comprised of six postseason teams from last year.

Four different teams who appear on Belmont’s non-conference schedule were either ranked or receiving votes in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll of the year which include No. 8 Louisville, No. 15 Arkansas, Georgia Teach and UCF.

“This year will be our most challenging non-conference schedule since I’ve been at Belmont, and I love that our players and program will have the opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s best players and coaches,” says head coach Bart Brooks. “I’m so grateful to have an administration and leadership at Belmont who are supportive of this challenging schedule. Every player who is on our roster came to Belmont to play in these kinds of games, and I’m excited by our growth and effort as we prepare to compete at the highest level this season.”

Belmont kicks off its season on Nov. 9 with a three-game road trip at Chattanooga, Ole Miss (Nov. 11) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 14). Belmont then hosts Alabama A&M for its home opener Thursday, Nov. 18 before returning to non-conference road action at UCF (Nov. 21) and Arkansas (Nov. 28), both 2021 NCAA Tournament participants. 

The Battle of the Boulevard returns after a one-year hiatus and will take place on Dec. 2 at the Curb Event Center, Belmont having won 11 consecutive games against the Bisons. The Bruins’ will face one of the most difficult opponents of the season, playing at reigning Atlantic Coast Conference regular season champion Louisville on Dec. 5. 

The Bruins will host a Power Five opponent for the first time since Dec. 12, 2013, as they take on the SEC’s Auburn on Dec. 15, making it the third SEC team Belmont will face. The game with the Tigers will be the first of Belmont’s lone three-game homestand of the year, which will be followed by a matchup with Middle Tennessee on Dec. 19 and WKU (Dec. 22) to wrap up non-conference play.

Belmont will defend its 2021 conference championship starting with road trips to SIUE (Dec. 30) and Eastern Illinois (Jan. 1) with Belmont’s OVC home opener set for Thursday, Jan. 6 against Southeast Missouri. Defending OVC regular season champion UT Martin will visit the Curb on Saturday, Jan. 29 after the Bruins visit Martin, Tennessee on Saturday, Jan. 8.

The Lady Bruins will return with nine letter winners and its entire starting lineup from 2020-21, including All-OVC First Team performers senior Conley Chinn and 2021 OVC Freshman of the Year Destinee Wells. Brooks, the third-fastest head coach to earn 100 career victories in NCAA Division I women’s basketball and 2020-21 Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Coach of the Year, will enter his fifth season leading Belmont.

Belmont Men’s Basketball Releases 2021-22 Season Schedule

Belmont Head Coach Casey Alexander. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics.

The Belmont men’s basketball team has dropped its 2021-22 schedule which includes games against LSU, Saint Louis, and Drake University. The release also includes the full Ohio Valley Conference schedule.

After going 26-4 last season and earning its 20th conference championship since 2006–third-most nationally over that span behind only Kansas and Gonzaga–Belmont has grown into one of the best programs among all Division I basketball.

“Scheduling has become increasingly difficult for many reasons, but we’re thrilled with how this year’s non-conference schedule came together,” says Head Coach Casey Alexander. “We were able to create some balance between home, road, and neutral site games, as well as provide opportunities for our fans to support us whether we’re playing in the Curb (Event Center) or elsewhere.”

Belmont opens the season Nov. 9 at Mid-American Conference champion Ohio. From there, Belmont welcomes Evansville to the Curb Event Center on Nov. 13 for the home opener. Next, the Bruins host Southern Conference powerhouse Furman. One of the strongest mid-major programs in the nation the last few seasons, the Paladins return 12 letterwinners from a 16-9 team that played Alabama and Cincinnati to the wire.

Belmont will then travel to Kennesaw State, who they beat last season 64-53, on Nov. 19. Belmont heads to historic Pete Maravich Assembly Center to face LSU on Nov. 22 where Alexander will face LSU Head Coach and Nashville native Will Wade for the first time in seven seasons.

The Bruins will then head to Orlando, Florida, to play in the highly anticipated ESPN Invitational over the Thanksgiving Weekend. They will start off by playing Drake on Nov. 25 and then either Alabama or Iona. If Belmont wins its second game, they will play in the tournament final on Nov. 28.

“Our Thanksgiving week at LSU and the ESPN Events Invitational will be a great test against a number of Top 50 teams,” Alexander says. “We have some familiar opponents, but new series with Ohio, Furman and Chattanooga will be exciting and challenging. Overall, the slate is full of programs expecting to participate in March Madness next spring.”

This year’s Battle of the Boulevard will be played once at the Curb Event Center on Dec. 2, as opposed to the regular two games in past seasons. The Belmont and Lipscomb rivalry goes all the way to the 1980’s when both teams competed for NAIA Championships. The Bruins have won 16 of the last 18 meetings, including an 81-71 victory last season.

Belmont will head to Birmingham to play at Samford on Dec. 5. Leading into mid-December, Belmont heads out west to face Atlantic 10 Conference contender Saint Louis. Two seasons ago, the Bruins and Billikens played a highly-competitive game, with the Bruins leading in the final three minutes before falling on the game’s final possession.

Finishing up the non-conference part of the season, Belmont hosts Chattanooga on Dec. 15 and Bethel on Dec. 18. Belmont welcomes back athletic hall of famer and Bethel head coach Steve Drabyn (’04) to the Curb Event Center. Drabyn served on Alexander’s Lipscomb staff from 2011-19.

The Bruins will kick-off OVC play on the road by facing SIUE on Dec. 30 and Eastern Illinois on Jan. 1. Belmont’s conference home opener will be against Southeast Missouri. The Bruins will play each OVC team twice this season, once in Nashville and once away. Four of Belmont’s final six conference games will be at the Curb Event Center, including Feb. 26 vs. Tennessee State.

“I’m looking forward to the double round-robin conference schedule this year,” says Alexander. “Our players embrace the expectations and championship standard at Belmont.”

Belmont is 130-24 in Ohio Valley Conference games since joining the league.

College Corner: Liza Corso, MTSU Football & Bonnaroo, Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Tournament

Lipscomb Freshman Liza Corso Wins Silver At Tokyo Paralympics 

Liz Corso. Photo: Courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics

Lipscomb track & field runner Liza Corso took home the Silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in the 1500m T13 on Saturday (Aug. 28). Corso finished with a personal best time of 4:30.67 to claim the medal.

Corso, a graduate of Portsmouth Christian Academy in Dover, New Hampshire, is the first Lipscomb student-athlete to compete and/or win a medal in the Paralympic Games. The 18-year-old is legally blind and has been running and participating in team sports since she was a young girl.

Corso will come back to Nashville with her Silver medal and is set to compete with the Bisons Track & Field and Cross Country programs this fall.

 

 

MTSU Football Offers Free Entry To Season Opener For Bonnaroo Ticket Holders 

MTSU is giving Bonnaroo ticket holders free entry into Saturday’s football opener between the Blue Raiders and Monmouth University on Sept. 4. The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival was cancelled on Tuesday (Aug. 31) due to campground conditions from rain caused by Hurricane Ida.

“Our athletic department hurts for our friends in the Middle Tennessee community because of this setback,” says Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. “MTSU has a long history of the university and its alumni supporting Bonnaroo every year, both as guests and in its operation, and we hope that this offer to come to our campus and enjoy some Blue Raider football this Saturday can help those affected make the best out of an unfortunate circumstance.”

Ticket holders can show their Bonnaroo tickets at box offices located at Gates 1, 3 and 4 the day of the game to receive reserved seat tickets, while supplies last. Fans can enjoy many of the game day amenities around Floyd Stadium, including tailgating in the Grove, the Family Fun Zone, and the Blue Raider Beer Garden.

 

 

Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tickets On Sale September 10

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament will go on sale to the general public Friday, Sept. 10. The tournament will feature four teams, including the University of Tennessee.

The Volunteers will face Big East powerhouse Villanova while the University of North Carolina takes on Purdue in Connecticut from Nov. 20-21.

The Vols’ opening game against Villanova tips off at 12 p.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 20 and will be televised on ESPN News. Also on Saturday, Purdue is slated to face North Carolina at 3 p.m. CT.

Pending the outcome of those two games, Tennessee will be matched up with Purdue or North Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 21 in either the championship game, televised on ABC at 12 p.m. CT, or the consolation game at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Belmont Partners With INFLCR To Help Student-Athletes In NIL Era

Belmont University has announced a multi-year partnership with content platform company INFLCR to help its student-athletes prepare and transition into the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) era. Belmont’s men’s and women’s basketball programs will leverage INFLCR’s content delivery platform and mobile app to help grow Bruin student-athlete brands. The partnership allows for additional Bruin teams to be added in the future.

“We are excited to announce our partnership with INFLCR to support Belmont student-athletes and celebrate team successes,” says new Belmont Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Corley. “INFLCR will strengthen our ability to tell the Belmont story, providing tools and educational resources in the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) landscape, streamlining the process for student-athletes to engage in compelling social media content.”

Belmont is the latest institution to partner with INFLCR to seamlessly share digital media with its athletes through the INFLCR app. The Bruins join over 100 colleges and universities that are using INFLCR’s technology to power messaging, student-athlete brand-building and NIL education.

“We’re thrilled to launch partnerships with the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Belmont,” says INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale. “Through internal creative teams and national media, Bruin athletes will have access to vast amounts of digital content that they can easily share across their social feeds from their INFLCR app.”

INFLCR allows athletes and brand ambassadors better access to their content galleries through the INFLCR mobile app and can then share the content to their personal social media accounts. After the fact, schools are able to measure the increased audience engagement coming from the much-larger collective audience of those athletes and brand ambassadors.

Belmont Athletics Partners With Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant

Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant has partnered with Belmont Athletics, becoming the official barbecue of the Belmont Bruins. Central to the partnership are several new initiatives that will enhance the ticket package offerings for Belmont fans this season as well as give fans an opportunity to enjoy their favorite Puckett’s classics.

In addition to the official barbecue designation, Puckett’s will have use of official marks and logos and receive brand visibility via Belmont Athletics in-venue signage, broadcast media rights as well as digital and social channels.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to be the Official Barbecue of the Belmont Bruins and align our brands as two Nashville community staples,” Andy Marshall, CEO and Owner of A. Marshall Hospitality says. “We are excited to provide several new ticket enhancements for Belmont fans to enjoy a game at Curb Event Center and look forward to seeing Belmont fans in all of our area locations after a big win!”

The partnership will offer fans the “Puckett’s Flex Pack,” giving fans flexibility to attend Belmont basketball games around a busy schedule, and is available to be purchased as a 10 or 20 game pack of ticket vouchers that can be used throughout the season. New this season, each purchase of a 10 or 20 game Puckett’s Flex Pack includes a $10 Puckett’s gift card.

Additionally, Puckett’s is the proud sponsor of the Military Appreciation Ticket Program. Thanks to Puckett’s and Belmont Athletics, all active and retired military personnel will receive free single game admission to any Belmont home game in the 2021-22 season with a valid military photo ID.

Vanderbilt Men’s & Women’s Basketball Season Tickets Available Now

Memorial Gym. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Season tickets are now available for the 2021-22 Vanderbilt men’s and women’s basketball seasons. Season ticket holders receive discounts at shop.vucommodores.com as well as the first chance at mini plans and single-game tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Since a portion of each season ticket purchase will include a gift to the National Commodore Club, every season ticket holder will be recognized as a valued NCC member. Women’s season tickets start at $50, and Mr. C’s Kids Club members will receive free admission to women’s basketball games. Men’s season tickets start at $200. Tickets can be paid for in full or spread out with monthly payments. Season-long parking passes are also available for purchase.

The Vanderbilt men welcome back leading scorer and All-SEC first-team selection Scotty Pippen Jr. as the Vanderbilt women are set to begin their first season under the direction of new head coach Shea Ralph. Full 2021-22 schedules for both teams will be announced at a later date.

Capacity at Memorial Gym is expected to be 100 percent, but COVID-19 protocols and capacity limitations are subject to change depending on guidance from public health experts. Further details will be provided closer to the start of the season

Belmont Adds John Freeman As New Lead Broadcaster For Men’s Basketball

Belmont Athletic Department has added John Freeman as the lead broadcaster for the university’s men’s basketball team. Freeman currently serves as the radio play-by-play voice of Nashville SC and has been on the club’s mic since its inception in the United Soccer League (USL). He will continue to call NSC games along with the Bruins.

“John is regarded as one of the most versatile and hardest-working broadcasters in our industry,” says Assistant Athletic Director for Broadcasting and Media Relations Greg Sage. “His professionalism, depth of experience, and proven track record at the highest levels of sport will be tremendous assets for our program.”

Freeman’s basketball credits include serving as fill-in play-by-play broadcaster as well as studio host on the Virgina Sports Network. Most notably, he called University of Virginia men’s basketball during its 2019 National Championship campaign, including contests during March Madness. His decade-plus with the Virginia Sports Radio Network included work for Cavalier soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, wrestling, and softball. Freeman continues to serve as a lead broadcaster for several sports on ACC Network Extra, ESPN3, and ESPN+.

Freeman has also called VCU men’s and women’s basketball for RamRadio and RamTV, as well stints with the Atlantic 10 Conference, Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, Randolph Macon University (VA), and Eastern Mennonite University (VA). He’s been honored four times by the Associated Press for Best Sports Coverage in the State of Virginia. Freeman was also named top sports broadcaster by the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

Freeman will replace longtime Bruin basketball play-by-play voice Kevin Ingram who left Belmont last season when he received the opportunity to call games for Vanderbilt University. Nashville sports talk show host George Plaster took over in an interim role for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Belmont Men’s Basketball To Play Drake In 2021 ESPN Events Invitational

Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics.

Belmont is set to take on mid-major powerhouse Drake in the first round of the 2021 ESPN Events Invitational on Nov. 25 at either 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

On one side of the bracket, Belmont will face Drake with the winner heading to the semifinal round to play the winner of Alabama-Iona. On the other side of the bracket are Kansas, North Texas, Dayton and Miami (FL) who are all strong teams with recent success. Kansas went 21-9 last season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to eventual Elite Eight team USC.

The teams in the tournament had a combined record of 153-68 (.692) last season, with three of the top seven winningest teams in the nation, four conference champions, and five teams earning NCAA Tournament berths. Last season, Belmont went 26-4, which included 21 consecutive victories, 30 consecutive conference victories (over two seasons, including tournament), national Top 25 poll votes eight consecutive weeks, and the program’s 12th regular season conference championship in 16 years.

The ESPN Events Invitational will take place Nov. 25-28 from HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida. All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.