Location: CenturyLink Center – Omaha, NE [Capacity: 17,260]
Time: 6:10 p.m. (ET)
|(7) FLORIDA GATORS||(15) NORFOLK ST. SPARTANS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Anthony Evans|
|Record: 24-10||Record: 26-9|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -14; O/U 144
KNOW THE OPPONENT
No. 15-seed Norfolk State, currently on an eight-game winning streak dating back to Feb. 20, won the MEAC Tournament and earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament – both for the first time in school history. NSU also became just the fifth 15-seed to upset a No. 2-seed by taking down Missouri 86-84 on Friday to advance to the third round. The Spartans flashed their talent throughout the season as well, proving that they were a team to be reckoned with after falling by just two points to then-No. 17 Marquette on Nov. 21. Center Kyle O’Quinn, the MEAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, is Norfolk State’s leader in points (16.2), rebounds (10.5) and field goal percentage (.585) while also playing a team-high 31.5 minutes per game. The Spartans have two other double-digit scorers in guard/forward Chris McEachin (13.0) and G Pendarvis Williams (12.1), each of whom shoots well from beyond the arc, but no other player on the team posts more than 6.9 points per game.
HISTORY and STREAKS
» Florida is making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time and 12th under Donovan. The Gators are 30-12 all time in the event (26-9 under Donovan) with two national titles in three championship game appearances and four trips to the Final Four. The team is hoping to earn its seventh Sweet 16 appearance with a victory on Sunday.
» Norfolk State is making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning its first MEAC Tournament title in school history.
» UF is 22-0 all-time against MEAC teams (20-0 under Donovan) and has never faced NSU in men’s basketball.
» Florida has made a three in 685 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» The Gators have registered a school record and nation-high in three-pointers this season with 332 over 34 games; the 9.8 treys per game is No. 1 in the country.
» All five of UF’s normal starters are averaging 10.4 points per game or more.
» Florida is 18-2 (two losses to Kentucky) this year when posting a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and are just 6-8 when the margin is even or negative.
» The Gators are 238-39 since 1998-99 when recording 15 or more assists in a game and 289-37 since 1988-89 when holding opponents under 70 points.
» UF is 6-6 against the NCAA Tournament field with four losses coming against No. 1 seeds (Kentucky, Syracuse) and one to a No. 2 seed (Ohio State). Conversely, NSU is 2-2 against the same field with two losses to No. 3-seed Marquette and victories over No. 2-seed Missouri and Long Island.