AT A GLANCE - Rollins begins defense of its back-to-back Sunshine State Conference Tournament championships on Wednesday as the fourth-seed Tars host fifth-seed Florida Southern in a quarterfinal match-up at 7:30 p.m. Both schools will need deep runs into the conference tournament for a shot at a NCAA postseason bid. Rollins swept the Mocs in the regular season, winning the first meeting in Winter Park 84-78 and then beating Southern in Lakeland for the first time since 2007, 76-71.
ADMISSION: $10 adults / $8 seniors / $5 non-SSC students / SSC students are free.
Rollins was the preseason favorite in the Sunshine State Conference preseason poll and was in first place after its win over FSC on Jan. 28, but went 2-5 in the month of February to slip in the standings by seasons end. The Tars started the year as one of the hottest teams in the nation, rolling off seven straight victories and climbing to No. 10 in the Division II poll. Losses to Western Washington and Central Washington in Las Vegas, followed by a third-place finish at the Winter Park Rotary Tangerine Tournament, put the Tars at 8-3 heading into 2012. Rollins was 6-2 in January, including an overtime loss at home to Eckerd and overtime win at Saint Leo. Things took a turn for the Tars on Feb. 1 in a 98-88 loss to last place Tampa at home. Rollins then dropped its next two before righting the ship with a win against Lynn. A home loss to SSC Champion Florida Tech was followed by a win at Barry and loss at Nova Southeastern to close the season.
ROLLINS IN THE SSC TOURNAMENT - Rollins is 32-28 all-time in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament, winning four times and finishing runner-up on six occasions. They won their first title as the No. 1 seed in 1992 and again as the top team in 2006 and 2012. Last season, Rollins ran through Barry, Tampa and Eckerd en route to the title. Nick Wolf was the tournament MOP, averaging 24 points and 9.3 rebounds over the course of the three games. Rollins has had the least amount of success as the No. 4 seed, posting an all-time record of 3-7. The Tars were last the No. 4 seed in the 2002 tournament, beating Barry in the quarterfinals and falling to top-seeded Tampa in the semis. In tournament play, the Tars are undefeated against Nova Southeastern (2-0) and Lynn (1-0), and have lost just once to Florida Tech (3-1) and Saint Leo (6-1). Historically, Florida Southern (0-11) and Tampa (2-7) have had the Tars number in the SSC Tournament.
THE STARS - Myk Brown is the Tars top scorer on the season with 12.9 a game. The senior has scored 1,211 career points and ranks 26th on the Tars all-time list, just nine out of the top-25 and 27 back of assistant coach Brad Ash. He also ranks fifth in the conference in 3-point shooting, hitting 38 percent from long range. Chris Malcom adds 11 points, 6.3 rebounds and an SSC-leading 2.6 blocks a game. He tops Rollins all-time blocks list with 114. Dave Diakite also averages in double-figure scoring, putting up 10.2 a night. Ian Scott has played and started every game and chips in 8.2 points and an SSC-best four assists a game.
THE CINCINNATI KID - Rollins legend Tom Klusman (Rollins '76) is in his 32nd year at the helm of the program and has a record of 591-328, all with the Tars. He has participated in NCAA Tournament as player, assistant coach and head coach, was the 1991 and 2003 NABC South Region Coach of the Year and has been named the SSC Coach of the Year five times. Klusman ranks sixth in victories among active NCAA Division II Coaches and 22nd all-time.