NCAA Tournament 2012: Why Norfolk State Has Easy Road to Elite 8

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIMarch 17, 2012

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16:  Kyle O'Quinn #10 and Brandon Wheeless #24 of the Norfolk State Spartans celebrate after they won 86-84 against the Missouri Tigers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

While a No. 15 seed taking down a No. 2 seed is a tough feat and one that happens rarely, Norfolk State's upset of Missouri on Friday was not entirely surprising, and the Spartans are prepared to go even further in this tournament.

The knock on Missouri entering the NCAA tournament was that the Tigers are a moderately short team with athletic builds that can run the floor. Given a matchup against a larger team, the upset could happen, which is what the Tigers found out on Friday.

Norfolk State was clearly the better team because it was the bigger and more physical team the entire game.

The Spartans' best player is 6'10" forward Kyle O'Quinn, and the Tigers has no answer for him. O'Quinn had 26 points and 14 rebounds in the upset.

The Spartans also have a supporting cast of three 6'6" players, with their smallest starter measuring 6'5" tall.

Safe to say, when the game became won or lost in the paint, Norfolk State had the upper hand and used that to its advantage late in the game when it needed it.

The rest of the Spartans' schedule looks very favorable as well.

They are set to match up on Sunday with a guard-heavy Florida team that played well against Virginia.

If they can get past a brutal Gator attack of guards, they are sure to match up well with either Marquette or Murray State in the Sweet 16 because of that height factor.  

Given that height and athleticism that we saw against Missouri, we should not be surprised to see this team become the Cinderella of the tournament and take on a team like Michigan State in the Elite Eight.