By Nick Curran
ESPN 680 Producer
Bellarmine Play by Play Voice
Wednesday night, Bellarmine will make its second ever and second straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The fourth-ranked Knights (28-3) will take on the second-ranked Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (29-3). Like Bellarmine, the Chargers were in the Elite Eight last season in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Chargers fell in their quarterfinal matchup in overtime to Minnesota State-Mankato, the team Bellarmine beat in its semifinal matchup en route to the Knights’ National Title.
When Bellarmine takes the floor Wednesday night, it will be like looking in a mirror. The Knights are known for crisp, accurate passing, taking care of the ball, excellent shooting, and solid team defense. The numbers say the Chargers are incredibly similar. Both teams rank in the top 10 nationally in field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, and assist/turnover ratio. This should be a wildly entertaining game Wednesday evening.
The Chargers are led by Division II All-American Josh Magette, who leads the nation in assists per game (8.9/game). Another key player will be Zane Campbell, who leads the squad in scoring (14.3/game).
In my opinion, the most intriguing matchup will be between Magette and Knights senior Braydon Hobbs, the Basketball Times’ D-II Player of the Year. Hobbs averages over five assists per game himself. Plus, both players are in the top five in the nation individually in assist/turnover ratio. It should be a fun game of chess both ways and a lot of fun to watch.
The game could, as many offensive battles do, come down to who plays the best defense. Neither team has been overpowering defensively on the season. Bellarmine prides itself on tremendous team defense and rotating well to be in the right position.
There will be a lot on the line Wednesday night. And two very talented teams should put on one heck of a show.
Watch the game on line at NCAA.com.
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