LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When Loyola of Chicago lost to Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, the result resonated on Newburg Road.
The Ramblers, NCAA Final Four participants three seasons ago, had won 11 straight before they lost to Drake in overtime. That was the fourth-longest winning streak in men’s Division I basketball.
Now the fourth-longest streak, behind Gonzaga’s 20, Belmont’s 19 and Baylor’s 17, belongs to coach Scott Davenport and surging Bellarmine, which has won 10 straight.
The Knights are more than the talk of the ASUN Conference. They’re the talk of New York City, too. Allow me to explain with four other fun facts about Bellarmine, which is booked to play at North Florida this Friday and Saturday.
1. Bellarmine made the New York Post on Sunday.
Not the front page. Not Page Six. Not the back page cover of the sports section. (Click the story link and scroll through the story.)
But Zach Braziller, the Post’s college basketball writer, included the Knights in his college basketball notebook. After noting the winning streak, Braziller mentioned Bellarmine and Oklahoma as his two Stock Up teams of the week.
He praised the Knights’ remarkable transition to Division I.
“The gap between Division I and Division II isn’t as wide as people believe,” Braziller wrote.
As Howard Schnellenberger once advised me, any publicity is good publicity.
2. Check out Ken Pomeroy’s rankings.
Here’s some news that Davenport and his coaching staff can put on their next recruiting post card.
Bellarmine is ranked ahead of not one, but two, programs from Power 6 leagues in the latest Pomeroy power formula at KenPom.com.
Bellarmine is No. 166. That is two spots ahead of the Washington Huskies, which competes in the Pac-12 and sent two one-and-done players to the NBA last season.
The other coach sitting in the corner blushing is Bruce Weber of Kansas State. Three years ago, K-State beat Kentucky and advanced to the Elite Eight (before losing to Loyola).
Today, K-State is No. 191 in Pomeroy, 25 spots behind Bellarmine.
If you’re scoring at home, Bellarmine is also ranked ahead of at least one team from the Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Conference USA, SunBelt and Atlantic 10 conferences.
There’s more. Bellarmine is also ranked ahead of famous Virginia-beater UMBC (No. 170); Rick Pitino (Iona is 218) and Tubby Smith (High Point is 284).
3. Play the Comparative Score Game
Bellarmine beat Florida Gulf Coast.
Florida Gulf Coast beat Miami.
Miami beat Louisville, Duke and Purdue.
Bellarmine also beat Stetson.
Stetson beat Liberty.
Liberty beat Mississippi State and South Carolina.
4. More Fancy Numbers.
As a program transitioning from Division II, the Knights are not included in the Division I statistics at the official NCAA website.
But I can plug and play the numbers.
Through 18 games, the Knights have made 51.1% of their field goal attempts. That would rank seventh among all Division I programs.
Turnover margin? The Knights are plus-4.3 per game. Only nine Division I programs are better.
Bellarmine’s scoring margin is 11 points per game. That would rank 28th.
Keep it up and the Knights will crack more than the New York Post.
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