NC State’s fans, its players, coaches and administration must all have awoken this morning with the same feeling: what might have been. That the Wolfpack is a good enough team to play with most anyone in the upcoming NCAA Tournament is beyond question — the victory over Syracuse on Friday night settled that without any doubt, if the close calls against UNC, Syracuse, Missouri and others didn’t. But, in the end, it may be those close calls that doom NC State to the also-ran tournament, the NIT.
Then again, there might be a slight chance that the Wolfpack gets happy news this evening when the Selection Committee announces its decisions. Slight, mind you, but to quote Lloyd Christmas, “so you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
- ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi: Next 4 out
- CBSSports.com Jerry Palm: Bubble – Probably Out: “The Wolfpack picked up its best win of the year by far when they beat Syracuse. That’s not really enough yet, but they couldn’t beat Duke. They have to be considered a long shot.”
- SB Nation: Next 4 Out “In the ACC Tournament semifinals, N.C. State’s late resurgence ended with a 75-67 loss to Duke. The Wolfpack are now likely headed for a high seed in the NIT. “
- Yahoo: On The Bubble (2nd team out)
But before you get too down, consider:
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but that’s just how close the Pack is to playing in the only tournament that matters. Sure, you can say the NIT will be good for the team, or whatever else you want to use to make yourself feel better about it, but the truth is that the only tournament anyone not in the NIT pays attention to is the NCAA Tournament. And that’s where State’s coaches and players want to play. Sure, they might say good things about the NIT, but they know deep down they’re only putting lipstick on the pig. They want the NCAA and nothing else.
Where NC State goes next won’t be known for several hours, and honestly, it doesn’t look good, but you never know at this point. There is a chance, a slight one, and that’s all we have. Let’s hope it’s a good one.