(RNN) – Belmont has been tabbed as a likely candidate among the double-digit seeds to produce an upset. If they do, expect senior sharpshooter Ian Clark to play a large part.
The 6'3", 175-pound guard averaged 18.1 points and 3.3 rebounds as the Bruins cruised to a 26-6 record for 2012-2013, including 14-2 in their first Ohio Valley Conference season. Clark was named co-OVC player of the year along with Murray State's Isaiah Canaan.
Clark worked in the offseason to improve his all-around game. As a result, he hit a gaudy 54.1 percent of his shot attempts, an uptick of nine points from his junior year, and his 46.3 rate from the 3-point arc ranked best in the nation (minimum 2.5 made per game).
His shooting stroke is deceptively fast, lulling defenders to sleep with a slow step up before releasing the ball with a quick flip.
The work ethic has paid off on both ends of the court, as he took home the OVC defensive player of the year award this season, too. Clark averages 1.6 steals a game, one of four on Belmont that force at least one turnover each time out.
The Bruins' accuracy from long range could prove the difference in the matchup with Arizona. The Pac 12 power is among the worst teams in the tournament at defending the 3-pointer.
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