Belmont releases brutal schedule as Bruins travel to UNC, Kentucky

Belmont's men's basketball schedule is out and, well, let's just say coach Rick Byrd is not ducking anybody during what might be a rebuilding year.

Before the conference schedule starts in January, the Bruins will play on the road at Richmond, North Carolina, MTSU, South Dakota State, Denver, Kentucky and Indiana State. They will also play two games in Hartford — against Holy Cross and the winner of Hartford/Hofstra — as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

Then the OVC schedule begins.

Overall, Belmont will play 14 teams that were in the postseason and 10 teams that were listed in the top 75 of the final 2013 RPI rankings.

After going to Allen Field House at Kansas last year, the Bruins will head to the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., this year as Byrd's group tries to build on what was the second toughest strength of schedule last season. They'll have to do it with an all-new backcourt as top players Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson both graduated and are playing professionally now.

"The 2013-14 schedule appears to be the toughest we have ever faced at Belmont," Byrd said. "We believe in playing great competition in great environments, and this year is no exception. In addition to our road schedule, our home schedule is very attractive, perhaps the most notable collection of games coming to the Curb Event Center we've ever had. The challenge is undeniable, but our players and staff look forward to the opportunities presented."

The full schedule is here.