NCAA tournament team previews: North Florida Ospreys
As part of its preview of the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. All stats are through Monday, March 16.
Record: 23-11 (12-2 in Atlantic Sun)
Adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency: 105.7 (98th)/102.8 (177th)
Seed: No. 16 in South
Impact player: Dallas Moore, sophomore, guard, 15.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 39.5 3-pt%
The Case For: Many 16-seeds might actually like being in one of the First Four games, as North Florida is, because it would give them a realistic chance to win an NCAA tournament game. The Ospreys, though, might feel jilted by their seed. They played seven games against teams from the power conferences and won one of those games—on the road against a tournament team no less—knocking off Purdue by three points in West Lafayette on Dec. 6. The Ospreys can get hot from distance, ranking 41st in the country in three-point percentage, led by junior guard Trent Mackey's 44.0%. They also have decent size for a mid-major, frequently utilizing a front line that includes 6'11" Romelo Banks.
The Case Against: North Florida may not even get the chance to become the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1. If the Ospreys beat Robert Morris on Wednesday, though, they'll have a sizable challenge against Duke. Who will guard Blue Devils star center Jahlil Okafor? Banks only plays about 17 minutes per game, and even with North Florida's above-average size for the Atlantic Sun Conference, it let opponents connect on more than 48 percent of its two-point attempts. On the other side of the ball, only 19 of 351 Division I programs shot worse from inside the arc than did the Ospreys. That’s not exactly a winning formula for a 16-seed against a team like Duke.
SI prediction: Beat Robert Morris in First Four, lose to Duke in Round of 64.