North Florida Ospreys (5-5)
Last time out: L, 76-48 at Alabama on Wednesday
North Florida struggled from the onset and never could get on track against the Crimson Tide. The Ospreys fell behind 11-0 in the game's opening minutes and didn't get their first points until the 16:39 mark of the first half on a Charles McRoy jumper.
Alabama took a 36-23 lead to the locker room and started the second half on an 11-2 run that essentially put the game away. North Florida trailed by at least 20 points most of the rest of the game. The Ospreys shot just 31 percent from the floor, including 27 percent in the second half, and finished 7-of-16 from the free throw line.
No North Florida players scored in double figures. McRoy and junior guard Devin Wilson both had a team-high eight points.
Record: 13-19, 8-10 Atlantic Sun
North Florida finished seventh in the 10-team Atlantic Sun, falling in the opening round of the conference tournament to eventual Sweet-16 team Florida Gulf Coast, 73-63. The Ospreys twice beat third-place Stetson, but otherwise struggled against the conference's upper-echelon teams. They went a combined 0-4 against regular season champions Mercer and second-place Florida Gulf Coast, who won the conference tournament. North Florida also twice lost to fourth place South Carolina State.
The program has had just three winning seasons since it was created in 1992, a span of 21 seasons.
Head Coach: Matthew Driscoll
At North Florida (5th season): 61-77 Career: same
Driscoll has brought a dormant program to a new level of competitiveness. The Ospreys have made the eight-team A-Sun tournament in each of his first four years. North Florida finished 16-16 in 2011-12, the 16 wins a program record.
The end of the 2012-13 season marked the first set of Driscoll recruits to finish their careers. Those seniors left as the winningest class in North Florida history, as the Ospreys compiled the most wins in a four-year span (57) in program history.
What they do well:
Rebound, shoot the 3
Overall, North Florida isn't terribly efficient offensively. The Ospreys average .954 points per possession, which ranks 268th among 351 Division-I teams, despite the fact that they do a relatively good job crashing the glass. North Florida ranks third in the A-Sun in defensive rebound percentage (.712) and fourth in offensive rebound percentage (.329).
When a North Florida player does bring down an offensive board, they have the luxury to kick it out to a couple of sharpshooters. Freshman guard Dallas Moore shoots a team-best 44 percent (12-of-27) from beyond the arc (minimum 15 attempts). Sophomore guard Beau Beech has taken by far the most 3-pointers, shooting 35 percent (18-of-51). As a team North Florida shoots 36 percent from deep, fourth in the conference.
"Beech, to me, is a tremendous shooter," said Indiana coach Tom Crean. "It seems like the bigger the game, the more fearless he is. That's how characterized him to our team."
North Florida also does a good job of spreading around its scoring. As Evan Gordon noted in Friday's press conference, North Florida's rotation consists of 11 players that play on a regular basis. Ten of those players average at least 14.5 minutes per game, and six average better than 20.
Crean praised North Florida for its balanced scoring and ability to get offensive rebounds, and said IU will have to focus on defensive rebounding. He said North Florida is "very creative" offensively.
"They pose different challenges," Crean said. "They run a lot of pick and rolls. They run a lot of screening actions. The biggest thing to me is guarding the dribble on the defensive end because they isolate very well."
The Ospreys average 73 points per game, but only two players score in double figures — Senior forward Travis Wallace (12.4) and Moore (10.3). Seven other players, however, average at least 5.6 points per game, and three of those players average at least 7.5 points a contest.
Crean said he won't overwhelm his team with learning how to defend specific plays that North Florida runs because the Ospreys have so many. Instead, IU will learn how to defend North Florida's offensive "concepts."
"Concept-wise, it's very important that we understand their spacing, it's very important that we know the shooters, it's very important that we know what we want to do in the ball screen coverages," Crean said. "Transition defense is going to be paramount."
F Travis Wallace, SR
Wallace, who led North Florida in rebounds and was the second-leading scorer last season, is the team's top returning player. He leads the team in scoring (12.4) and rebounding (6.9) while shooting 58 percent from the field. After scoring in doubles figures in 25 of 32 games last season, he has seven in 10 games this season.
G Dallas Moore, FR
A two-time All-State selection at Boca Ciega High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., Moore is North Florida's second-leading scorer (10.3). Though he's attempted 24 fewer 3-point attempts than Beech, he's money when he does decide to shoot from downtown — he shoots a team best 44.4 percent on 3's (minimum 15 attempts). Moore is also second on the team with 24 assists.