Fifteenth seeded Norfolk State will attempt to keep the glass slipper on for at least one more game as it takes on the seventh seeded Florida Gators in a third round battle at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Today’s game between the Spartans and Gators is scheduled for a 6:10pm ET tip off on TNT. 2012 NCAA Tournament Picks have Billy Donovan’s Florida team listed as a -13.5 against the spread favorite; the Over/Under is set at 143 points.
Norfolk State was an afterthought coming into the big dance, just another obscure team from an obscure conference. The Spartans altered perception on Friday, though, pulling off one of the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history with an 86-84 win over the second seeded Missouri Tigers.
Norfolk State did little to slow down the Tigers potent offense in the victory as Mizzou hit 52.7 percent from the field; however, it provided more than enough of its own offense to make for any defensive shortcomings. The Spartans, who are not known for their long range accuracy, hit 10-of-19 from beyond the arc and 32-of-59 overall to stun Missouri.
Leading the way for Norfolk State was big man Kyle O’Quinn, who scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. O’Quinn was one of just three Spartans to score 20 or more points, though, as Chris McEachin and Pendarvis Williams combined for 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting.
Unfortunately for Norfolk State, it will not be sneaking up on anyone else, especially not Florida, which features the same type of guard oriented attack that Missouri employed. The Gators, who played poorly down the stretch (lost four of five games coming into the tournament), are, no doubt, prepared for what it is the Spartans offer after observing their showdown with the Tigers.
Florida also cast off its recent struggles on Friday by destroying 10th seeded Virginia 71-45. The defensive minded Cavaliers did a nice job preventing the Gators perimeter attack (hit just 4-of-23 from long range), but they were deficient in other areas as the Gators hit 52.8 percent from the field.
Expect Florida to cruise again this evening for two reasons. First, it is difficult to envision the Gators, one of the better three point shooting in the country, experiencing another abysmal showing from beyond the arc. Second, it is equally as hard to imagine the Spartans putting together another dead eye long range effort.
Norfolk State vs Florida 2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: Provided by SBG Global
Norfolk State Spartans +13.5 (+100), Over 143 (-110), +1000 (Moneyline)
Florida Gators -13.5 (-120), Under 143 (-110), -1600 (Moneyline)