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NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Get to know Norfolk State

Kyle O'Quinn, Kris Brown

Kyle O’Quinn celebrates after Norfolk State upset No. 2 seed Missouri in 2012, AP Photo


Read through the rest of the NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic

Coach: Anthony Evans

Record: 24-9, 13-3 (2nd)

Rankings and Ratings:

  • Kenpom: 213
  • RPI: 131
  • AP/Coaches: Unranked

Seeding? It’s rare the MEAC bid doesn’t get a 16 seed.

How’d they get here? Held off Bethune Cookman in the conference title game, with a little help from regular-season champ Savannah State losing earlier.

Names to know: Kyle O’Quinn (15.9 ppg, 10.5 rpg), Chris McEachin (12.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

Stats to know: Norfolk State’s 3-point defense is among the best in D-I, a surprise for a low-major school (but it also might not correlate entirely to its defense). It also gets to the free-throw line frequently (on 43.6 percent of field-goal attempts). It’s horrid at free throws, though, just 65.3 percent.

Tendencies: The Spartans play an extended man-to-man defense, which makes them a pesky team to cope with on offense. They don’t do it out of necessity, either. They have size (O’Quinn is 6-10 and no regular is shorter than 6-3), but because that’s what Evans wants. They’ll push the pace and when they don’t get the break working, they lean on O’Quinn. A lot.

Big wins, bad losses: A loss to D-II Elizabeth City State is bad, as are the handful of MEAC losses. But this team beat Drexel, and that’s impressive.

Outlook: Only four 15 seeds have ever won NCAA tournament games. Half came from the MEAC. The odds of Norfolk State becoming the third are pretty slim, but the Spartans have an underrated player in O’Quinn. He’s an efficient scorer, a shot-blocker and a focal point for any team hoping to pull off a stunner. We can dream, but it’s not a good bet.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.