Sunday March 18 6:10 p.m. EST on TNT
NCAA Basketball Spread: Florida -14
In the history of the NCAA Tournament only four #15 seeds had ever beaten a #2 seed. On Friday night it happened twice in the span of less than three hours. The first to pull off the huge upset was Norfolk State. Even though Lehigh’s win over Duke might get more publicity, Norfolk State was really a big shock since the team entered their game against Missouri as 21 point underdogs. Florida took care of business by dispatching Virginia 71-45. Can Norfolk State do the unthinkable once again?
Norfolk State wasn’t given a chance by anyone in their matchup against Missouri. Many people thought Missouri should have been a number one seed, and Norfolk State wasn’t thought highly of at all. That all changed when the Spartans dominated Missouri on the boards and won 86-84. Norfolk State hustled all over the floor at the end of the game, and they definitely deserved their huge win. Kyle O’Quinn had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Spartans. He came up with numerous huge plays at the end of the game on Friday.
Norfolk State only shot the three-ball at 31.8% as a team during the year, but they made 10 out of 19 on Friday afternoon. If the Spartans are going to have a chance at advancing another round, they must pound the ball inside to O’Quinn in this one. Florida’s weakness is in the interior, and the Spartans must get on the glass like they did against Missouri.
The Florida Gators were only favored by 3.5 over Virginia, but they dominated the entire game and rolled to an easy victory. Freshman Bradley Beal had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Beal doesn’t get the publicity that some others get, but he is clearly one of the best freshmen in the nation. As a 6’6 guard he averages 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker are great in the backcourt as well. Boynton shoots 42% from three-point range. Walker leads the team in assists with 157.
Not many teams can match Florida’s depth in the backcourt. This is a team that has five or six very good guards. Patric Young is a talented low post player, but there isn’t nearly as much depth in the frontcourt for Florida. Casey Prather averages just two points per game off the bench, but he scored a career high 14 points in the win over Virginia. If the Gators can continue to get that kind of effort out of Prather it will help their tournament run a great deal. Florida averages 76.1 points per game on the season.
Norfolk State isn’t likely to shoot the ball nearly as well as they did last game. Their only chance is to win the battle on the boards. Florida should come out ready to play in this one.
Free College Basketball Pick: Florida -14
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!