The third seeded Florida State Seminoles (25-6, 12-4 ACC) will meet the Sun Belt conference champion and 14th seeded University of Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans (23-9, 17-1 Sun Belt) in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Little Rock is a team that relies on defense to win games. The Trojans rank 24th nationally in DPPP (FSU is 87th) while only ranking 150th in OPPP (FSU is 10th). The Trojans have done this against the 208th toughest schedule according to Sagarin (FSU is 30th).
This game will be a classic clash of styles. UALR plays at a glacial pace. They are 333rd out of 349 teams in pace. Florida State looks like a team of road runners in comparison as the Noles check in at 62nd nationally in pace. UALR would love to keep this game in the 50s or 60s. If it becomes a shoot-out the outcome will not be in doubt as the only suspense would be the margin of victory for FSU.
Little Rock has nine players averaging double-digit minutes. It is difficult to key on one person because they get it done by committee. Their leading scorer and rebounder, Ronjanae DeGray, comes off the bench. The 6'0 junior scores 13.9 points and grabs 5.7 boards a game. Monique Townson is a 5'6 senior point guard. Little Rock isn't a great three point shooting team but Townson is a threat at .394 from deep. She also shoots 82.4% from the line and leads the team in assists. A third player to watch for is grad student Keanna Keys. The 6'1 forward is Little Rock's second leading scorer and rebounder. Her game is exclusively on the inside as she hasn't attempted a triple all year. However, it will be important for FSU to keep her off the offensive glass.
In reality it is hard to see how FSU will be seriously challenged in this game. UALR may be able to keep it close for a while but the Trojans simply lack the fire power to threaten FSU especially in Tallahassee.
The winner of this game will face the winner of the (6) South Florida vs (11) Buffalo game which will be played following the FSU-UALR game. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN2. According to Sagarin FSU is a 23.5 point favorite.