SEC NCAA Tournament Primer: Friday/Sunday GamesPosted by Brian Joyce on March 16th, 2012
On Friday, Florida and Alabama open their NCAA Tournament runs facing Virginia and Creighton, respectively. Here we preview the Friday/Sunday possibilities for the Gators and Crimson Tide.
SEC NCAA Tournament Friday/Sunday Capsules
- #7 Florida: Tournament appearances: 16; Record 32-14; Best Finish: National Champion – 2006, 2007; Final Four appearances: 4; How Qualified: At-Large, SEC; Last Appearance: 2011 – L, Regional Final
- #10 Virginia: Tournament appearances: 16; Record 22-16; Best Finish: Final Four – 1981, 1984; Final Four appearances: 2; How Qualified: At-Large, ACC; Last Appearance: 2007 – L, Second Round
- #2 Missouri: Tournament appearances: 24; Record 22-23; Best Finish: Elite Eight – 2009, 2002, 1994* (vacated by NCAA), 1976, 1944; Final Four appearances: 0; How Qualified: Automatic Bid, Big 12; Last Appearance: 2011 – L, First Round
- #15 Norfolk State: Tournament appearances: 0; Record 0-0; Best Finish: N/A; Final Four appearances: 0; How Qualified: Automatic Bid, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; Last Appearance: N/A
- Florida vs Virginia: Virginia leads 1-0; Last Meeting: March 30, 1992 (Virginia 62, Florida 56)
- Florida vs Missouri: Never met
- Florida vs Norfolk State: Never met
- Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State, Sr. C: O’Quinn is the anchor for a Norfolk State team excited for its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. If the Spartans could somehow make it past Missouri, Florida’s Patric Young would battle O’Quinn in the post. The beast of the MEAC averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
- Mike Scott, Virginia, Sr., F: The Gators will have their hands full with one of the ACC’s top talents. Scott finished the year averaging 18.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game earning him first team All-ACC honors. The forward has been on a tear of late, finishing with a double-double in his last three outings. He scored 28 against Florida State, 35 against Maryland and wrapped up with 23 points in his final game against North Carolina State.
- Kim English, Missouri, Sr. F/G: English lit it up from three-point land this season, shooting 47.3 percent from downtown. English’s overall shooting percentages improved from 36.6 percent a year ago to a cool 53 percent this season. The improvements he’s made in his offensive game have the Tigers thinking about their first ever Final Four.
- Marcus Denmon, Missouri, Sr. G: Denmon has shown he can do a little bit of everything. The 6’3″ guard averages 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game to lead a balanced Tigers attack in scoring. Denmon has been consistent, shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc on the season.
- Phil Pressey, Missouri, So. G: Pressey is just a sophomore, but he is the court general for the poised Missouri Tigers. Pressey is averaging 10 points, 6.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds and over 2 steals per game. He doesn’t always score in bunches, but finds ways to get his teammates involved in the game as evidenced by his double-digit assists in seven games this season.
- #8 Alabama: Tournament appearances: 19; Record 21-19; Best Finish: Elite Eight – 2004; Final Four appearances: 0; How Qualified: At-Large, SEC; Last Appearance: 2006 – L, Second Round
- #9 Creighton: Tournament appearances: 16; Record 9-17; Best Finish: Sweet Sixteen – 1941, 1962, 1964, 1974; Final Four appearances: 0; How Qualified: Automatic Bid, Missouri Valley Conference; Last Appearance: 2007 – L, First Round
- #1 North Carolina: Tournament appearances: 42; Record 105-40; Best Finish: National Champion – 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009; Final Four appearances: 18; How Qualified: At-Large, ACC; Last Appearance: 2011 – L, Elite Eight
- #16 Vermont: Tournament appearances: 4; Record 1-4; Best Finish: Round of 32 – 2005; Final Four appearances: 0; How Qualified: Automatic Bid, America East; Last Appearance: 2010 – L, First Round
- Alabama vs Creighton: Never met
- Alabama vs Vermont: Never met
- Alabama vs North Carolina: North Carolina leads 7-4, Last meeting: March 21, 1992 (North Carolina 64, Alabama 55)
A Starting 5 of the Top Players Alabama Could Face
- Doug McDermott, Creighton, So., F: The do-it-all forward for Creighton will be relied upon by the Blue Jays to lead the way against Alabama. McDermott has scored in double figures in every game this season, and has 10 double doubles to go along. He is the third leading scorer in the nation, and ranks number one amongst players in the NCAA Tournament. McDermott is incredibly accurate with 61 percent field goal shooting and 49.5 percent three point shooting.
- John Henson, North Carolina, Jr. F: It’s now time for the All-North Carolina team and it starts with the injured Henson. There is still some question as to whether or not he will play, but the guess here is that he will be in the lineup. Henson is consistent as evidenced by his 16 double doubles this season. His length makes him difficult to guard and his 2.9 blocks per game makes opposing offenses remember his presence.
- Harrison Barnes, North Carolina, So. F: Barnes returned to UNC after a successful freshman season, and one has to assume it wasn’t to flame out in the second round of the tournament. Barnes is an impressive talent, but he has been exceptional in March. In 2010-11, Barnes averaged 21.5 points per game in the month of March as the Tar Heels went to the Elite Eight. Expect more of the same from the clutch performer in this year’s NCAA Tourney.
- Tyler Zeller, North Carolina, Sr. F: Zeller averages a solid 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Zeller and Henson give UNC a dominating front line that few teams can contain, including Alabama. The Crimson Tide will struggle against the height advantage of the Tar Heels on the low block, and Zeller figures to take advantage.
- Kendall Marshall, North Carolina, So. G: Marshall’s 9.7 assists per game puts him at second in the nation amongst assist leaders. He has hit double figures in the category 15 times already this season. While he primarily looks to be a distributor, he can score too. He averages 7.8 points per game, and has scored in double figures in five of his last seven games.