Coach: Rick Byrd won the 800th game of his career last month, joining Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, West Virginia’s Bob Huggins and Coastal Carolina’s Cliff Ellis as the active Division I coaches with more than 800 wins, according to the Associated Press. Byrd has been the coach at Belmont since 1986. His team’s victory over Temple on Tuesday was his first NCAA tournament win in eight attempts. He also endeared himself to fans after Tuesday’s win, praising Temple coach Fran Dunphy, who is retiring.
Despite a turnaround 22-10 season that included finishing fifth in the Big Ten and making the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the past five years, coach Mark Turgeon and the Terps will try to end a five-game postseason losing streak when they play Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.
Key players: 6-8 guard/forward Dylan Windler (20.8 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game); 6-3 G Kevin McClain (16.7 ppg, 4.0 assists per game); 6-11 center Nick Muszynski (14.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.2 blocks per game)
How they got here: Belmont got an at-large bid to the tournament. Belmont tied for first with Murray State in the conference regular season, but lost to Murray State in the conference championship game.
How it fared against other tournament teams: Belmont is No. 50 in RPI (compared with the Terps’ No. 24 ranking), per kenpom.com, and split its two games with No. 52 Murray State (a No. 12 seed in the tournament); defeated No. 77 Temple (also a No. 11 seed) on Tuesday; and lost to No. 10 Purdue (a No. 3 seed in the tournament). Other highlights from the season include two wins over No. 49 Lipscomb as well as at No. 109 UCLA. Low points were losses to No. 112 Jacksonville State and No. 205 Green Bay.