(7) Florida vs. (15) Norfolk State Preview
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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On a day where the Gators could barely buy a make from beyond the arc they aggressively attacked the basket and relied on their defense as they easily got past Virginia 71-45. The Gators were up eight after one half and outscored the Cavaliers by 18 in the second period to move onto the Round of 32. Freshman Brad Beal was spectacular in his tournament debut, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. As a team the Gators shot 24-30 from inside the arc, proving that they don’t have to be on from deep in order to win. Meanwhile the Cavaliers were just 18-47 from the field as a team. The Gators’ defense will have to rise to the occasion again on Sunday against a Norfolk State Spartans team that nobody expected them to be playing. The Spartans proved that they can really score against Missouri, so it’s going to be on the Gators to keep up and get the stops they need if they want to move onto the Sweet 16.
(15) Norfolk State Spartans
Prior to the Spartan’s second round game against Missouri everyone was talking about how the 2012 NCAA Tournament was lacking the exciting upsets that people love so much. Then the Spartans pulled off the first shocker of the tournament, sending the Tigers home early with an 86-84 victory. Their starting five, which is compromised of four seniors and one sophomore in Pendarvis Williams, scored every point. Kyle O’Quinn overwhelmed Tigers inside and out. He finished with a game-high 26 points and 14 rebounds to go along with two blocks and two assists. This game was the textbook definition of a shootout as both teams shot over 50 percent from the field and made at least 10 threes. The only concern coming out of the game for the Spartans is that they are going to need more help from their bench than they got on Friday if they’re going to advance past Florida. The Gators will be more than happy to run with the Spartans, but they’re going to defend them far better than the Tigers did.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Florida. It’s going to be very difficult for the Spartans to beat Florida based on the way they like to play. Expect Florida’s defense to be tough as they advance to the Sweet 16.
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