Northern Kentucky Men's Basketball 2020 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Northern Kentucky Norse

Horizon (23-9, 13-5)

Northern Kentucky has reached their third NCAA Tournament in the last four years. This season there were some questions to answer though with Darrin Horn coming in to take over the program. But with a relatively young, yet experienced, group returning, the expectations stayed high for the Norse. And they answered most of those questions, finishing second in the Horizon League and taking home the conference tournament title.
Big Wins: 11/12 at Coastal Carolina (69-68), 11/20 at Ball State (59-57), 1/31 at Green Bay (71-62)
Bad Losses: 11/23 Texas Southern (96-98), 1/3 at Detroit (58-66), 2/16 Illinois-Chicago (43-73)
Coach:  Darrin Horn
Why They Can Surprise:
All five regular starters average at least one steal per game. The team as a whole forces 14.5 turnovers per game and Northern Kentucky will need to get easy buckets off those turnovers if they stand any chance of pulling off a big upset. That defense will be key, but the Norse does have a few quality scorers too. Dantez Walton is the big man who is often surrounded by four guards. He leads the team with 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds. While Walton does spend a lot of time in the paint, he also made 49 three-pointers this season. Tyler Sharpe, Jalen Tate and Trevon Faulkner are all capable of having huge scoring outputs. Sharpe especially has taken over plenty of games this season and he is no stranger to dropping 30 or more points in a game.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Despite the potency of Walton, Sharpe, Tate and Faulkner, this is not a great shooting team. They often have to rely on high volume to score all of those points. The team as a whole shoots just 30.7 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks 307th in the nation and 8th in the Horizon League. For a team that will struggle to compete with a more talented squad in the paint, NKU cannot afford to miss that many shots if they hope to win their first ever NCAA Tournament game.
Probable Starters:
Bryson Langdon, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 3.3 apg
Jalen Tate, Junior, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 5.4 rpg, 1.9 spg
Trevon Faulkner, Sophomore, Guard, 11.9 ppg, 1.8 apg, 4.1 rpg
Tyler Sharpe, Senior, Guard, 15.1 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.7 spg
Dantez Walton, Senior, Forward, 16.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Key Role Players:
Adrian Nelson, Sophomore, Forward, 4.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Paul Djoko, Sophomore, Guard, 1.6 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (137th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.3 (62, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.1 (212, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (93, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (71, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.7 (306, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (257, 7)
Rebound Margin: -0.1 (187, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.8 (119, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (127, 4)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2019NCAARound of 64 loss to Texas Tech
2018NITFirst Round loss to Louisville
*all team stats through 3/8