The Syracuse Orange will visit the RBC Center on Saturday evening as the nation’s top ranked basketball team, providing NC State a unique opportunity to compete against a #1 ranked national out of conference opponent.
The Orange and the Pitt Panthers will join the Atlantic Coast Conference at some (yet undetermined) time in the future; those additions, along with the (assured) improvement from Mark Gottfried’s NC State Wolfpack will go a long way in re-establishing the ACC as the dominant conference in college basketball. Obviously, the ACC is struggling a bit this year. (LINK)…and BC Interruption does a good job in this entry of quantifying where things stand for the conference’s teams.
The Fayetteville Observer’s ACC Basketball Blog had a couple of great pieces on NC State’s performance against #1 ranked teams. This initial entry was followed up with more detail in this clarifying piece.
Some fans, when looking back at N.C. State’s history against No. 1 teams, have wondered about a 1958 game between the Wolfpack and an Oscar Robertson-led Cincinnati club.
According to the Cincinnati media guide, the Bearcats were No. 1 for most of December, but they arrived at the Dixie Classic with a No. 2 ranking. There, they beat Wake Forest 94-70 on Dec. 29, lost 69-60 to fifth-ranked N.C. State on Dec. 30 and lost 90-88 to fourth-ranked North Carolina on Dec. 31.
Cincinnati lost one more game in the regular season (against Bradley), lost in the Final Four to California and finished 26-4 after beating Louisville in the third-place game. Robertson averaged 33.7 points and 14.1 rebounds that season.
The Cincinnati ‘example’ underscores that playing a team the exact week(s) in which the opponent is ranked #1 doesn’t mean much of anything other than providing a neat little statistic to discuss. For example, the 1983 NC State Wolfpack defeated the Houston Cougars while the Cougars were ranked #1 in the country. However, the Wolfpack won an incredible FIVE GAMES against teams who held the #1 ranking at some point during the season (and a 6th game against a UNLV team that climbed as high as #2 in the polls).
In the 2011-2012 season, NC State is currently ‘treading water’ against a difficult out of conference schedule. At this point in the season, the 6-3 Wolfpack has played the 40th most difficult schedule in the country and is currently ranked 68th in the RPI. In addition to playing (currently) #3 Syracuse (RPI), State has the following match-ups on the horizon before starting league play at home on January versus Maryland.
#80) at St. Bonaventure
#200) Western Carolina
#264) Delaware State