Northern Kentucky University March Madness Appearance

Northern Kentucky University March Madness Appearance


Northern Kentucky University March Madness Appearance


@NKUNorseMBB on Twitter

As part of the Horizon League Tournament, Northern Kentucky University managed to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, also known as March Madness. The Norse were given a 16th seed and were faced with going against the first seed Houston. Through a hard fought battle, the Norse unfortunately came up short of what could have been a thrilling upset. History was almost made for NKU, as they almost became the second team in NCAA Tournament history, as a 16th seed to upset a first seed. 

There are many things to takeaway from this devastating loss for NKU, but when a team only makes 15.2% of their three pointers, it’s hard to beat a top-ranked team. Houston wasn’t having it easy when it came to three pointers, as they were shooting 25% from three. Key stats to note are, NKU only shot for 27.5%, only had seven turnovers, nine steals, and only 12 personal fouls. Meanwhile, Houston only had three steals, 17 turnovers, 14 person fouls, and shot 49%. Even though the final score was 63-52, Houston, the game was much closer than what the score box shows. The first half was a tight contest between the two teams, with Houston’s highest lead being by six in the first half, while NKU’s biggest lead was by three in the first half. What ultimately led to NKU losing this game was the poor execution into shooting, specifically the threes. 

As a team, NKU only made five-of-33, while Houston made four-of-16. Both Sam Vinson and Marques Warrick combined for a total of two-of-16 on threes, while Trey Robinson was only two-of-eight on threes. Although the defense managed to force 17 turnovers, including two shot clock violations, the offense unfortunately couldn’t get it done towards the middle and end of the second half. The fast pace by the offense also allowed a bit of sloppy play from the Norse’s side, which is another reason for the loss.

Houston struggled against NKU on Thursday night, and with injuries to a few key players, NKU could have definitely pulled off the upset. However, making the March Madness tournament brought a lot of hype towards the college basketball program for NKU. As a smaller college, the Norse made the most out of their appearance, which could lead to a potential bigger recruiting class for the future. In the Northern Kentucky area, compared to the other colleges nearby, NKU is considered small, with the University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, and Xavier being the “top-end” basketball schools, this March Madness appearance could lead to players wanting to get more playing time and a shot at another March Madness appearance for the program. 

A team that has forced turnovers on almost one fourth of their opponent’s possessions is certainly a team to never let “hang around” because they might just come to upset you. NKU proved they belonged in the tournament, but should they have been the 16th seed? With this appearance, and how well they played against Houston, this might help their future when the seeding is determined as well. 


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