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Get To Know: Belmont

Let's spend a moment learning a thing or two about the opponent for Friday's Marquette basketball opener.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Belmont University

Hey, That's Where Al McGuire Coached, Right? Nope.  McGuire went 109-63 at Belmont Abbey, which is in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Founded: 1890

Enrollment: 7,244 (5,837 undergrad, 1,407 graduate)

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Urban Campus, eh? I'm not too sure about that.  It looks super pretty.

Nickname: Bruins

Why "Bruins?" That's what they settled on in 1995 after a year long search to replace "Rebels" as Belmont moved from NAIA to NCAA Division 1.  Yes, they switched away from "Rebels" for exactly the reason you think that they did.

Notable Alumni: Country music star Brad Paisley; Grand Ole Opry legend Minnie Pearl; actor DJ Qualls; country music star Trisha Yearwood; Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, collectively known as Florida-Georgia Line; former NHL player Stu Grimson; Lila Acheson Wallace, co-founder of Reader's Digest; and a whole mess of singer-songwriter types that I've never heard of before.

What's With All The Musical People? Well, if you wanted to get into the country music scene and you also wanted to go to college, there are worse places to go to college than Nashville.  On top of that, Belmont has the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, which includes majors like SongwritingMusic Business, and Audio Engineering Technology.

Last Season: 22-11, 11-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference.  They ended up knocking a very strong Murray State team out of the OVC tournament and took the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  They threw a scare into #2 seed Virginia in the first round, trailing by just two points with less than five minutes to play.

Final 2014-15 KenPom Ranking: #135

2015-16 Preseason KenPom Ranking: #99

Returning Points Leader: Craig Bradshaw, 18.3 ppg

Returning Rebounds Leader: Evan Bradds, 7.2 rpg

Returning Assists Leader: Craig Bradshaw, 3.1 apg

Head Coach: Rick Byrd, who has been at Belmont FOREVER.  Remember when I mentioned that Belmont made the move up from NAIA about 20 years ago?  RICK BYRD WAS IN HIS ELEVENTH YEAR IN THEIR FIRST SEASON IN DIVISION 1.  He's 711-362 overall, 619-312 at Belmont, and 359-226 in Division 1.  Don't confuse that slightly more even record for struggling at Belmont.  That's still a winning percentage of .614.  Also: the Bruins have won either their conference's regular season title or the division title in their conference each of the last six years and eight of the last 10 seasons.

All Time Series: This will be the first meeting between Marquette and Belmont.