Originally written on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/19/14
Norfolk State will have quite the introduction. The No. 15 seed Spartans make their first NCAA tournament appearance against No. 2 seed Missouri, the Big 12 tournament champions led by surprising first-year coach Frank Haith. The Tigers will try to continue momentum from their success in Kansas City as they face a squad that has won seven consecutive games. Many around the program consider this to be Missouri's best chance to reach a Final Four for the first time, and a versatile backcourt led by guards Marcus Denmon (17.6 point per game) and Kim English (14.9) figures to carry the Tigers far. "I would say this is a senior-laden team, and they have been focused all year," Haith said. "They stayed in the process, and with that said, I feel good about us being focused. We have had opportunities to lose that focus throughout the year, but this team has been determined and resilient throughout the year." Any chance Norfolk State has of ending Missouri's season will come from the play of star center Kyle O'Quinn, who averages 15.9 points per game. In addition to his scoring ability, he is the only Spartans player who averages double-figure rebounding with 10.4 per game. "Everyone is excited about being here," Norfolk State coach Anthony Evans said. "The team has worked hard for five years. The staff has put in a lot of work." Key Player for Norfolk State: Kyle O'Quinn O'Quinn, the MEAC's player of the year and defensive player of the year, has been a model of consistency throughout his college career. He has averaged double-figure scoring in three of his four seasons. Key Player for Missouri: Marcus Denmon Denmon's career-best scoring average has paced the Tigers during their memorable run. He is not afraid to take and make pressure shots late. Key Matchup: Ricardo Ratliffe (Missouri) vs. Kyle O'Quinn (Norfolk State) Ricardo Ratliffe is Missouri's strongest threat in the paint area, averaging 13.9 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game. Norfolk State's hopes of pulling the upset rest in O'Quinn using his 6-foot-10 frame to create space against Ratliffe. O'Quinn has scored at least 12 points in each of his last six games. Prediction: Missouri 80, Norfolk State 62 Missouri might experience a slow start as Haith's team works through early NCAA tournament nerves. But in the end, the Tigers are too good to suffer what would be one of the most surprising postseason upsets in recent memory. Expect both Denmon and Ratliffe to have productive games.

World Series: Game Two live blog

LaMarr Woodley likely done for season with biceps injury

Report: Some Seahawks think Wilson isn’t 'black enough'

Darrelle Revis sent home for being late, misses practice

Report: Texas to pay scholarship athletes $10K per year

Report: Widespread academic fraud occurred at North Carolina


NHL postpones Senators/Leafs game after Ottawa shootings

Lions send player home from London after cutting him

Brandon Marshall on Jay Cutler: We're like brothers

NBA Board of Governors votes against NBA draft lottery reform

Jamaal Charles admits he hid concussion symptoms

Kobe Bryant on ESPN article: ‘I just kind of roll with it’

WATCH: Cutest grandma challenges Dwyane Wade to game of one-on-one

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

Porn star: No one parties harder than Sebastian Janikowski

Outrageous college football predictions: Week 9

World Series Game 2 Preview: Giants vs. Royals

Michigan St. fans troll Michigan campus, paint 'M' green

NFL MVP Watch Week 8: Is Manning still the King?

Fan blows $300 buying hot dogs for his section at World Series

Mo’ne Davis' Chevy commercial won't affect amateur status

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas forces OT, stares down Mayweather

10 bold predictions for Week 8 of NFL season

Tigers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Porn star: No one parties like Janikowski

World Series: Game Two live blog

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

NFL players who could be traded by the deadline

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.