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Belmont's 3-point shooting has Wildcats on alert

Wednesday - 3/20/2013, 8:45pm  ET

Arizona's Solomon Hill shoots during practice for a second-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in Salt Lake City. Arizona is scheduled to play Belmont on Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

AP Sports Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Belmont coach Rick Byrd hated the 3-point rule when it was first approved, and insisted he would have voted against it had he had the option 27 years ago.

Now it's the main reason his 11th-seeded Bruins are the trendy pick to knock off sixth-seeded Arizona when they open play Thursday in the NCAA tournament's West region.

Byrd says he's conservative when it comes to rules but quickly realized the excitement the 3-point shot adds and the advantage it provides his team with players such as Ian Clark, who is making better than 46 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

That means the Wildcats will have to step up their perimeter defense.

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