Photo by Kyle Gorcey
Opening with the Ospreys
RMU, North Florida to faceoff in NCAA Tournament play-in game
March 15, 2015
On March 15, 1983, the Robert Morris men’s basketball team claimed its first and only NCAA Tournament victory, knocking off Georgia Southern by 10 points in a preliminary round matchup in Dayton, Ohio.
Exactly 32 years later, the Colonials received word that their latest installment in the Big Dance would once again begin in the Gem City.
During a Selection Sunday watch party at the All Star Sports Bar & Grill in Robinson, it was revealed that RMU will take on fellow No. 16 seed North Florida in one of the NCAA Tournament’s four play-in games Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. at the University of Dayton Arena.
“Seeing your name pop up on the bracket is one of the best feelings in sports,” head coach Andy Toole said after the pairing was announced. “I know our guys were excited to see it. We’ve got a tough assignment ahead of us in North Florida, and we’ll look forward to preparing the next few days to get ready for Wednesday.”
But the Ospreys aren’t a team that Toole and his staff can take lightly if they want a date with No. 1 seed Duke in Charlotte, N.C. two days later.
North Florida, a very efficient offensive team, averages 75.7 points per game – good enough to be ranked 25th in the nation in that category – and shoots close to 47 percent from the floor.
That, coupled with the fact that Matt Driscoll’s program owns a 16-3 record in 2015 and played a tough non-conference schedule against the likes of Northern Iowa, Florida State and Purdue – the latter of which they defeated by three points – should prove for an interesting contest.
“We’ve got a tough assignment ahead of us, and we’ll look forward to preparing the next few days to get ready for Wednesday,” Toole told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They have some great 3-point shooters.”
However, much like every mid-major program, the Ospreys lack height down low and therefore depend on their outside shooting.
In order for Robert Morris to advance, it’s 2-3 zone will have to limit the touches of NF guard Dallas Moore, who is coming off a 36 point performance against Lipscomb in the Atlantic Sun Conference semifinals.
“I’m just excited about the opportunity,” senior Lucky Jones said. “It’s a great accomplishment, and we get to play against another talented mid-major program in North Florida. We just have to make sure we bring it Wednesday and have fun.”