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Columbia Missourian

Get to know Missouri's NCAA Tournament opponent: Norfolk State Spartans

By Tom Reaves Capp
March 15, 2012 | 12:28 p.m. CDT

The Missouri men's basketball team's first opponent in the NCAA Tournament is a team from the Commonwealth of Virginia — the Norfolk State Spartans. They face Missouri at 3:40 p.m. Friday at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

For Twitter users, the Missourian's sports department (@comosports) has compiled a list of people you might want to follow. With one click, you can follow Norfolk State basketball players, Norfolk State University accounts and local media that cover the Spartans. 

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Here is a quick guide to the basketball team and the university.

About the basketball team

Previous appearances in NCAA Tournament: None. This will be the Spartans' first-ever appearance in the tournament.

Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, also known as the MEAC.

2011-12 season: The Spartans finished the season in second place in the MEAC conference, but earned a bid for the NCAA Tournament by winning the MEAC conference tournament. Their overall record was 25-9. The team is led by senior Kyle O'Quinn, who leads the team in points, rebounds and blocks per game. He was also named the MEAC offensive and defensive player of the year.

The Spartans played only a handful of big-name basketball teams. Here is a recap video of a game this season against Virginia Tech, where they lost 73-60.

 

About the school

Location: Norfolk, Va. Norfolk's population is about 240,000. It is also home to Old Dominion University and to Wesleyan College, which is located on the border between Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The world's largest naval base and the North American headquarters for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are also located in Norfolk.

Founded: In 1935, under the name Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University, it opened its doors on the second floor of a YMCA building. It has also been named Norfolk Polytechnic College, Norfolk Division of Virginia State College, Norfolk State College and, as of 1979, Norfolk State University.

Type: Public school known as being a predominantly black university.

Size: 134 acres with 37 academic buildings.

Athletics: In 2010, there were 289 total student athletes. Of those, 106 participated in football. The graduation rate was 49 percent.

Other facts: In fall 2010, no first-time freshman student listed Missouri as their state; five total students listed the state as home. In 2010, the acceptance rate was 63.55 percent for incoming freshmen. Spartan fans and alumni take pride in their Alma Mater and fight song. Below is a rendition of their fight song performed by the school band.