Florida-Norfolk State Preview: Analysis, Prediction, Date and TV Tip Time, Point Spread, and Tickets

There are 16 “Round of 32” games on Saturday and Sunday as the most exciting weekend of the sports calendar continues. As we always do every March here at MSF, we try to cover you with previews, informed and reasoned predictions, and pertinent viewing info as soon as we can get it posted.

In this post, we preview the West Region matchup between #7 Florida and surprise Round of 32 entrant Norfolk State, who knocked off Missouri in one of the great upsets in NCAA Tournament history.

Florida-Norfolk State Game Info

  • Seeds & Region: #7 Florida v #15 Norfolk State in West Region
  • Florida-Norfolk State Date: Sunday, 3/18
  • Florida-Norfolk State Tip Time: 6:10
  • Florida-Norfolk State Location: Omaha
  • Florida-Norfolk State TV: TNT
  • Florida-Norfolk State Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, and Craig Sager
  • Florida-Norfolk State Point Spread: TBA
  • Tickets: Florida-Norfolk State Tickets
  • Tickets: West Regional Tickets in Phoenix


You may have heard that Guinness is going all-out to set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day party. Here is how you can participate AND throw your name in the hat to win a trip to Dublin.

More details below…

Florida-Norfolk State Analysis and Prediction

In a tournament that has featured relatively few upsets so far, Norfolk State more than made up for it by knocking off Missouri on Friday.  The Spartans, who came into the game shooting just 31 percent from three-point range, hit 10-of-19 from long range, and big man Kyle O’Quinn went off for 26 points and 14 rebounds.  Earlier in Omaha, Florida blew out Virginia by 26 points despite making just 4-of-23 from beyond the arc.  Freshman Bradley Beal led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while two other Gators scored in double figures.

As you might expect, this game appears to be a mismatch on paper.  The Gators ranked third in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and boast the eighth-ranked effective field goal percentage and the 14th-ranked turnover rate.  Norfolk State ranks 193rd or lower in three of the four factors on defense, but a three-point defense ranked 21st in the country will serve them well against the Gators, who take over 44 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.  For the season, they have made just under 39 percent from downtown.  Florida also hits nearly 52 percent inside the arc, but thanks to a high block rate, the Spartans are tough defensively there as well.

Keep an eye on the offensive glass, as the Gators rank just outside of the Top 100 in offensive rebounding percentage, while Norfolk State ranks 219th in defensive rebounding percentage.  The matchup with Patric Young and Kyle O’Quinn inside should be pivotal.

On the other end of the floor, Norfolk State ranks outside of the Top 200 in offensive efficiency.  Their greatest strength is a high 43.7 free throw rate, but Florida ranks within the Top 50 in terms of keeping their opponents off the stripe.

The Gators have struggled to defend the three-point line, which wouldn’t have been a huge deal before the Spartans caught fire from long range on Friday.  Florida can’t allow guys like Pendarvis Williams and Chris McEachin to heat up once again.

With O’Quinn in the post, it’s no surprise that the Spartans have shot well from two-point range, and once again, the matchup between he and Young will go a long way toward determining Norfolk State’s ability to pull off another upset.

With talented guards like Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, and Bradley Beal, it would appear the Gators have a clear advantage on the offensive end, but many said the same thing when looking at Missouri’s stable of guards, and look what happened there.

Florida is very beatable when their three-pointers aren’t falling, so that will be the key to this game in addition to the Young-O’Quinn matchup.  While I believe that Norfolk State will run out of magic against Florida on Sunday, the basketball fan in me will be pulling for the Cinderella story.

Predicted Winner: Florida


Billy Donovan is a two-time national champion, but he'll have to go through Kyle O'Quinn and Norfolk State to reach the Sweet 16.

Norfolk State Spartans Team Capsule

  • Conference: MEAC
  • Record: 25-9 (13-3 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 9-1
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 1-2
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: LIU Brooklyn
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Marquette (2)
  • Player to Watch: Kyle O’Quinn (6’10” C, Sr.) – 15.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 58.3 FG%

Norfolk State Bottoms Line:

I’m not 100 percent sure, but the Spartans are probably the first team to ever make the NCAA Tournament after losing to Elizabeth City State.  From a statistical standpoint, Norfolk State ranks in the Top 25 in free throw rate, holds its opponents to a low effective field goal percentage, and shoots very well from two-point range.  Most of their other numbers aren’t particularly impressive, and their overall efficiency numbers both rank outside of the Top 150.

Three Spartans score in double figures, but the focal points on both offense and defense is big man Kyle O’Quinn.  He’s an efficiency marvel with high rankings in effective field goal percentage, offensive and defensive rebounding percentages, block percentage, and free throw rate.  Most small conference teams don’t boast such a talented big man, and he has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor.  Chris McEachin and Pendarvis Williams both score at least 11.8 points per game, and neither one is shy about hoisting shots from long range.  Despite playing just 18.6 minutes per game, Jamel Fuentes leads the team in assists and has actually attempted more shots from the free throw line than the field.

Florida Gators Team Capsule

  • Conference: SEC
  • Record: 23-10 (10- 6 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 4-6
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 4-6
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Alabama (2), Florida State, Vanderbilt
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Kentucky (3), Ohio State, Syracuse, Vanderbilt
  • Player to Watch: Bradley Beal (6’3” G, Fr.) – 14.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.4 spg

Florida Bottoms Line:

The Gators started the season as a Final Four contender in the eyes of some analysts, but they struggled to beat quality teams throughout the season.  Five Florida players score in double figures, led by Kenny Boynton with 16.3 points on 42.7 percent shooting from long range.

Freshman Bradley Beal has been solid as well, and in addition to his scoring ability, he does a nice job on the defensive glass.  The team also has a veteran point guard in Erving Walker, who scores 12.1 points per game and leads the Gators in assists.  On a guard-heavy roster, the big men don’t get many touches, but Erik Murphy and Patric Young both average at least 10 points, with Young shooting over 60 percent from the field and Murphy content to shoot from the perimeter.  The late-season loss of forward Will Yeguette hurts their frontcourt depth as well, particularly because of his high rebounding rates.

In all, the Gators rank third in offensive efficiency, because they shoot 39.0 percent from deep and have a low turnover rate.  However, their reliance on the three-point shot has come back to bite them in multiple games this season, because when they aren’t hitting from long range, Florida doesn’t really have a plan B.  They also struggle on the defensive end, which could ultimately be their undoing in the tournament.


Related: Jump to our West Region Bracket Breakdown

Remember, join Guinness for the St. Patrick’s Day party. It gives you a chance to win a trip to Dublin, and it gives us a chance to win one too! And it’s so easy to sign up.

  1. If you are 21, click here: http://www.guinness.com/
  2. Confirm your age
  3. Click “Count Me In”
  4. Enter your first name and zip code
  5. Important: where it says “Special Code” use this: MIDW – help MSF beat all of the other sites competing to contribute the most people to the biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party ever.

Then have a fun, exuberant, responsible St. Patrick’s Day celebration tomorrow, enjoying a Guinness or two while watching basketball. What could be better?

guinness selection sunday printable brackets march madness 2012

About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms


  1. Genuinely when someone doesn’t understand then its up to other visitors that they will assist, so here it
    takes place.

  2. Hi there friends, good post and fastidious urging commented here,
    I am in fact enjoying by these.

  3. Hello there, I found your site by way of
    Google while looking for a comparable topic, your web site got
    here up, it seems to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, just turned into aware of your weblog via Google, and located that it’s truly informative.
    I am going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate if
    you continue this in future. Lots of other people will likely
    be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  4. I really love your website.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create
    my own personal blog and would like to find out where you got
    this from or exactly what the theme is called.
    Appreciate it!

  5. Can you tell us more about this? I’d like to find out more details.

  6. Thanks for every other fantastic post. Where else may just anyone get that kind
    of info in such a perfect means of writing?

    I have a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such information.

  7. Hey there! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great info you’ve
    got right here on this post. I’ll be returning to your site
    for more soon.

  8. I do consider all the ideas you’ve introduced in your post.
    They are very convincing and will certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are very short for starters. May you
    please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the

  9. Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it
    has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, awesome blog!

  10. Hello, yes this article is in fact pleasant and I have learned lot of
    things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

  11. Right here is the perfect site for everyone who really wants to understand this topic.
    You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been written about for a long time.
    Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

  12. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say
    that I have really loved browsing your blog
    posts. In any case I will be subscribing on your rss feed
    and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  13. Hi! I know this is somewhat off-topic however I needed to ask.
    Does running a well-established blog such as yours take a
    large amount of work? I am completely new to running a blog however I do write in my
    journal everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my experience and feelings online.
    Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for brand new
    aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  14. I don’t even know the way I finished up here, but I believed
    this put up was great. I don’t know who you’re but
    definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger if you happen to are not already.

  15. If you want to get a great deal from this piece of writing
    then you have to apply these techniques to your won weblog.

  16. Excellent website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals
    that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me
    know. Kudos!

  17. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back very
    soon. I want to encourage that you continue your great work,
    have a nice day!

  18. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you
    using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress
    because I’ve had problems with hackers and
    I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.

    I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of
    a good platform.

  19. Your way of explaining everything in this piece of writing is truly good, all be able to simply
    understand it, Thanks a lot.

  20. Excellent post. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hey there, You have performed a great job. I will certainly digg
    it and individually recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  21. I will immediately snatch your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Please permit me know in order that I could subscribe.

  22. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your
    weblog and wanted to mention that I have really loved surfing around your weblog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss
    feed and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

  23. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now
    each time a comment is added I get several emails with the
    same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?


  24. Your style is unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.

  25. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which
    makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.
    Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Superb work!

  26. I am regular visitor, how are you everybody?
    This paragraph posted at this web page is truly nice.

  27. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly
    useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  28. Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.

    When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it
    has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, great blog!

  29. Incredible points. Outstanding arguments. Keep
    up the good work.

Speak Your Mind