Rollins (21-10) vs. Valdosta State (26-5)
Spragins Hall – Huntsville, Ala.
Saturday, March 11, 2017 – Time 3:30 p.m. (ET)
The Tars are making their second consecutive tournament appearance in the Division II South Region Tournament, coming in as the No. 7 seed. The Tars enter the NCAA Tournament as the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Champions and are currently riding an eight-game winning streak. Rollins will face the second-ranked Valdosta State Blazers for the 13th time in school history in the opening round on Saturday, March 11. The Tars are making their 14th trip to the NCAA Tournament and ninth since 2000. The Blazers were ranked 16th in the latest NABC Coaches’ Poll and were the runner-ups in the Gulf South Conference Tournament.
TRACKING THE TARS:
Coming off their thrilling SSC Tournament Championship win, the Tars are averaging an impressive 41.6% from beyond the arc and 47.3% from two-point range. The offense is averaging 80.8 points per night, while on defense the Tars allow 79 points per game. Rollins is currently the 13th-ranked team in the nation in total steals with 265 on the season. Sam Philpott leads the Tars’ offensive effort, shooting 55% from the field and averaging 15 points per game. He is followed closely by Jeff Merton, who averages 14.4 points per game, while also grabbing a team-high 5.8 rebounds per contest. Freshman Connor McKim, who scored the game-winning three-pointer in the SSC Championship game, is averaging 10.5 points and dishing out 3.9 assists per game. Defensively, Joey Galvis leads the Tars with 74 steals, which ranks him in the top-10 in the nation.
TRACKING THE BLAZERS:
The Blazers are coming off of a 94-91 loss in the Gulf South Conference Tournament, their first loss in eight games. They are averaging 88.7 points per night, and are allowing their opponents 78.5 per game. The Blazers have a very balanced offense, with six players averaging double-figures. Jeremiah Hill is their top scoring threat, averaging 19.6 points per game. He also leads the team in assists with 4.3 per game and total steals with 61. On the defensive end, Saadiq Muhammed and Jimmy Kodet have combined for 51 blocks on the season. Muhammed also leads the team in rebounds, averaging 6.7 per game.
The Tars and the Blazers last met in 2010 at the season opening GSC-SSC Crossover with the Blazers winning 93-83.
The two schools squared off in the 2010 NCAA Division II South Region Championship game with VSU posting a 71-58 victory.
Valdosta State leads the series with Rollins 7-5.
The Tars are coming off their first SSC Championship title since 2011.
Rollins is 7-6 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and is 2-1 as the No. 7 seed.
Joey Galvis leads the SSC and is sixth in the nation with 74 steals. As a team, the Tars are 11th nationally with 274.
Rollins ranks eighth nationally in three-point shooting, hitting 41.6 percent.
Tom Klusman is 674-392 in 37 years as the Tars head coach.
NEXT UP FOR ROLLINS:
The winner will meet the winner of the No. 4 Barry/No. 5 Eckerd match-up in the South Region Semifinal on Sunday, March 12th. All South Regional games will be played at Spragins Hall in Huntsville, Ala.