Norfolk State became something of a household name last season after knocking off second-seeded Missouri as a 15 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament. It only helped the spirit of the upset when then-senior forward Kyle O’Quinn showed that he was one of the most likable players in the country in a wide-eyed, off-the-cuff postgame interview with Craig Sager.
Despite losing O’Quinn, Norfolk State carried the momentum of last season’s success into this year, running the table at a perfect 16-0 in the MEAC conference slate and looking for its second straight automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. That run came to an end Wednesday night, as the Spartans were upset in overtime by No. 8-seeded Bethune-Cookman, 70-68, in the MEAC quarterfinals.
Norfolk State led by 10 at halftime and pushed the lead to as many as 13 in the second half, but the Spartans were plagued by poor 32-percent shooting and were badly outrebounded in the loss.
The Spartans become another example of a dominant small-conference team during the regular season that stumbles in the conference tournament, forcing them to miss out on the NCAAs.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.