Here we go folks, this one is for the coveted day off. Remember the Pack can finish as the #3 seed (NCSU Win & UNC Loss), the #4 seed (NCSU Win & UNC Win or NCSU Loss/UVA Loss), or the #5 seed (NCSU Loss & UVA Win). This one means a lot so there is extra pressure not to lay an egg and for EVERYONE to be focused the entire game…both Offense AND Defense. Today’s webrun will be a little light thanks to all the ink being used up covering the H-Y-P-E Game down the road.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
NC State’s incentive: an extra day off
N.C. State’s path to a bye in the ACC tournament couldn’t be any clearer.
If the Wolfpack beats Florida State on the road on Saturday it won’t have to play in the opening round of the conference tournament on Thursday in Greensboro.
An extra day off, which the Pack hasn’t had in the ACC tournament since 2006, would be a big help, coach Mark Gottfried said.
“If your goal is to win the ACC tournament championship, obviously you want to play the least amount of games possible to do that,” Gottfried said.
“We’ve put ourselves in position, by winning six of the last seven, where now we’ve got an opportunity to potentially help ourselves.”
N.C. State (22-8, 11-6 ACC) has won six of its past seven games, with the past four wins all by double digits.
The Wolfpack still needed help to get to this point and got some, coincidentally, from FSU (16-14, 8-9) on Thursday. Senior guard Michael Snaer’s three-point play with 4.4 seconds left gave the Seminoles a 53-51 home win against Virginia. The loss knocked the Cavaliers to fifth place in the ACC at 10-7, a game behind N.C. State.
NC State head coach Mark Gottfried previews the Wolfpack’s regular-season finale at Florida State Saturday.
NC State (22-8, 11-6 ACC) at Florida State (16-14, 8-9 ACC)
2 p.m. | Tallahassee, Fla.
Donald L. Tucker Center (12,200)
SERIES RECORD: NC State leads 28-41
LAST MEETING: NC State 84, Florida State 63 (2/19/13)
Play by play: Dave O’Brien Color: Doris Burke
√ NC State checks in at No. 27 in the RPI, and No. 32 in strength of schedule. NC State is 20th in the BPI, and has the No. 14 schedule.
√ NC State has won seven of its last nine games at FSU.
√ The Pack’s 46 combined wins over the last two years are the most in back-to-back seasons since 1987-88 and 1988-89 (46).
√ NC State is looking to win 12 ACC games for the first time since 1973-74 (12-0).
√ NC State has won six of the last seven games, including three straight.
√ Richard Howell is just four rebounds away from becoming only the fifth player in NC State history to record 1,000 career rebounds.
√ Howell ranks sixth nationally and leads the ACC in rebounding (10.7).
√ Scott Wood is nine three-pointers away from tying Rodney Monroe’s school record.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State knows what is on the line
NC State coach Mark Gottfried said a couple of weeks ago exactly what he would do if the Wolfpack were in a close game against FSU. Virginia coach Tony Bennett used a different tactic and got burned by Snaer.
“First of all, Michael Snaer is an unbelievably clutch player,” Gottfried said. “I don’t know in college basketball if we’ve seen one play make that many game-winning shots. That’s amazing.
“If it’s a close game and they have the ball, we’ll double him, triple him, put four on him and might put all five. I might go guard him and we’ll all guard him. It’s hard to watch that guy to continue to do that. If we are in that situation, we’ll do everything in our power to make sure he doesn’t get to shoot.”
NC State easily defeated Florida State 84-66 on Jan. 19 at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack are fighting for a top four spot in the ACC and bye next Thursday at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position, winning the last six of seven, now we have an opportunity to potentially help ourselves,” Gottfried said. “Florida State is going to be confident after last nights win. It’s difficult to play a team twice in a short amount of times sometimes. It should be a heck of a day Saturday.”
AARON BEARD (AP)
Wolfpack can clinch ACC tourney bye vs. Seminoles
“I think if your goal is to win the ACC tournament championship, obviously you want to play the least amount of games possible to do that,” Gottfried said. “However it plays itself out, we will be ready regardless.”
Still, N.C. State has already earned consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since 2007 and appears a solid bet to return to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season after five years of struggle under Sidney Lowe.
Last year’s team entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed with a first-round game, but won twice to reach the semifinals and secure an NCAA bid on the way to reaching the round of 16.
The Wolfpack would just prefer to avoid that extra game if possible this time around.
“Obviously it’s going to eliminate one extra chance for you to get beat if you have the bye,” senior Scott Wood said. “For me, it doesn’t matter. I want to win the Florida State game, but you’re going to have to beat everybody to win the ACC championship at the end of the day. That’s the main thing.”
Mike Lopresti (USATODAY.com)
Turning 30, N.C. State upset never gets old
It’s March, and upsets are coming. But this is a rare place to sense the possibilities of the NCAA Tournament, on a shady rise in Oakwood Cemetery, between two gravestones but 20 yards apart.
One of the gold standards of tournament lore turns 30 years old this spring; North Carolina State, a sixth-seed with 10 defeats, over No. 1 Houston for the national championship. You’ve seen the images for the basketball ages. Lorenzo Charles grabbing Dereck Whittenburg’s desperation airball and slamming home the winner at the buzzer. Coach Jim Valvano, the patron saint of tournament belief, running madly around the court in unabashed joy.
In Oakwood Cemetery is the black gravestone for Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993, at 47. “Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry,” it reads.
Close by, as fate would it, is another gravestone with a North Carolina State Wolfpack logo. Charles, a bus crash victim in 2011. Also gone at 47.
“Two men that I’m probably connected to for the rest of my life,” Whittenburg said over the phone.
Time has had its way with the North Carolina State fairy tale of ’83.
“In some respects, it’s almost as if he’s still alive,” Pam Valvano Strasser said of the husband she lost. “Because you see him (on replays) all the time.”
She told of a man who was always writing down on index cards things he wanted do. The last one she found in his coat pocket:
“Find a cure for cancer.’ ”
Lauren Brownlow (accsports.com)
ACC Weekend Preview, March 8
N.C. State (22-8, 11-6 ACC) at Florida State (16-14, 8-9 ACC)
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Key for Florida State
Hey, you guys play defense again! More of that, please.
Florida State has held its last two home opponents – both of which have been pretty good offensively – to a combined 35.7% shooting (28.6% from three) and an average of 56.5 points. Opponents are also shooting just 39% from inside the arc, which is much more like the FSU defense we all know. FSU has also rebounded 68% of opponent’s misses in its last two home games, not a great number but much better than what it had been allowing. Last time against N.C. State, the Wolfpack shot just 46% (on the low end for them) but had to take just eight three-pointers (never a good sign for interior defense) and added a whopping 31 free-throw attempts. FSU needs to defend N.C. State without fouling and make things tough for the Wolfpack inside.
Key for N.C. State
Force FSU turnovers.
Last time against N.C. State, Florida State had just 14 turnovers but it felt like 24. That’s probably because most of them came early and N.C. State was able to turn them into points (14). Florida State is playing better lately, but its turnover percentage has still been over 20% in three straight games. And N.C. State is just better when it’s forcing turnovers: the Wolfpack is 7-1 this season when an opponent has a turnover percentage over 20% (4-1 in ACC play). FSU has been over that mark in 19 of its 30 games this year. Turnovers help get N.C. State’s transition game going, but it also energizes the defense in general and keeps the Wolfpack engaged on that end.
Remember The Name
Michael Snaer showed his late-game clutchness, aka Snaerions, yet again against Virginia by hitting his sixth game-winner in the last two years (fourth this year). Half of FSU’s ACC wins are a direct result of his heroics. When Snaer’s music starts to play at the end of a game, the other team should pretty much just get out of the way at that point. Resistance to the Snaer is futile. He will bend you to his will – dare I say, “ensnaer you?” – and he will hit the game-winner. It doesn’t matter what you do against him. There’s no Ken Pom statistic for clutchness (or is it clutchicity? clutchitude?) that I can find. But that’s just because, like Tim Tebow, Snaer just wins games. Haters are going to hate, of course, and he won’t win ACC Player of the Year. But just know, Michael, that I believed in your inherent Snaerness in the preseason. I mean, why should his statistics this year really matter anyway? He wins games. What does your POY candidate do? Rack up pretty numbers? Pssh. Haters are gonna hate, I guess.
In all seriousness, it’s his senior night. He’s coming off yet another game-winner. And as his teammates improve, he’s improved as well and has been better and better at taking on the offensive load. And his intangibles are real. When he’s on, FSU is so much better. Even if he doesn’t take a single shot, when he’s leading this young group and at his competitive peak, it’s incredibly fun to watch. Snaer’s going to want to finish his senior season on a high note at home, and he’s not going to go quietly.
Remember The Name
The senior sharpshooter has been great this year and has been fairly consistent, shooting 42% from three in league play and averaging 12.1 points. But he’s been in a bit of a shooting slump over the last two games, shooting 3-of-15 from the floor and just 1-of-10 from three. But good news for Wood: he seems to love the rims at the Tucker Center. In two career games there, Wood has averaged 20.5 points on 13-of-22 shooting (10-of-18 from three). In N.C. State’s wins against FSU over his career, Wood has shot 19-of-34 (16-of-26 from three) compared to 6-of-24 in losses (6-of-17 from three). Meaningless statistics aside, Wood has been great for the Wolfpack down the stretch of some close road games, hitting big shots (including the game-winner at Clemson), and his team may need that again.
Florida State held just three of its first 27 opponents to an effective field goal percentage under 41%, but it has now done that twice in the last three games. … In the Virginia game, FSU managed to beat the Cavaliers at their own game (so to speak) by winning a 53-possession game, the lowest-possession game played by either team this season. … N.C. State let FSU retrieve just 20% of its missed shots in the first meeting this year, tied for the lowest percentage by an N.C. State opponent this year. … Richard Howell has slipped a bit in his overall rebounding numbers recently, but he’s still getting almost all of the rebounds (14.4% of offensive boards, or 38th nationally, and 58.4% of defensive boards, 70th nationally).
Florida State Win: FSU’s first two-game winning streak of ACC play since the first two ACC games of the season coming against two of the league’s better teams (Virginia and N.C. State) is pretty much the most FSU thing ever.
Florida State Loss: Considering his teammates haven’t offered a ton of support this year, it seems appropriate that FSU would lose Snaer’s final home game, too. At least the “win, loss, loss” makes a pretty pink-and-green pattern on FSU’s Ken Pomeroy page.
N.C. State Win: N.C. State is clicking at the right time! The Wolfpack closed last season strong too, and look how that turned out! Watch out, Greensboro!
N.C. State Loss: The Virginia loss opened things up for the Wolfpack to clinch a bye in the ACC Tournament. Which of course means N.C. State will get in its own way as much as possible to make sure that doesn’t happen, right?
N.C. State, 79-72.
N.C. State is playing well right now, and this is a dangerous, dangerous game for the Wolfpack. But it handled its previous road test at Georgia Tech well, and should handle this one too.
Jay Coleman, Mike DuMond, & Allen Lynch
NCAA Tournament “Dance Card”
Below are rankings of all NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams through the games of Thursday, March 7, 2013, according to the “Dance Card” formula developed by Jay Coleman of the University of North Florida, Mike DuMond of Charles River Associates, and Allen Lynch of Mercer University.
Rank… Team…….. Chance of Bid
1…… Duke…….. 100.00%
5…… Michigan….. 100.00%
10….. Miami……. 100.00%
19….. Oklahoma St…… 100.00%
28….. UNC……… 100.00%
30….. NC State…. 100.00%
50….. UVA……… 36.29%
51….. Stanford… 22.35%
THE BUBBLE BURST HERE
52….. Providence….. 18.81%
63….. Arizona St….. 0.56%
70….. Maryland…. 0.08%
N.C. State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament Bracketology Projection
Prediction Seed: 7 (18.0%)
Bracket Projections – Men’s Basketball (2012-2013)
Last update: 2013-03-08 11:44
Duke (1), Miami (1), UNC (6), NCSU (8)
The 2013 Bracket Matrix
Matrix Last Updated: 3/8/13 8:21 PM
Seed… Avg Seed… # of Brackets… Team
1……… 1.01………… 85……………… Duke
2……… 2.34………… 85……………… Michigan
3……… 2.52………… 85……………… Miami
5……… 4.80………… 85……………… Oklahoma State
7……… 7.25………… 85……………… North Carolina
8……… 7.66………… 85……………… NC State
12…….. 11.71……….. 58……………… Virginia
16…….. 15.97……….. 74……………… Norfolk State
NC STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
The NC State women’s basketball team was defeated by Duke, 79-65, in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Friday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Marissa Kastanek led the Wolfpack with 18 points, while Markeisha Gatling added 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and a team-high nine rebounds.
Kastanek tied the school record with her 131st game played, and moved into eighth on the program’s all-time scoring list. She now has 1,639 career points, the largest total by an NC State player since Chastity Melton accumulated 2,042 points from 1994-98.
“We [NC State] thought we were going to win the tournament,” said head coach Kellie Harper. “As a coach, you want a group that comes in expecting to win. They were playing to win tonight.”
NC STATE BASEBALL
No. 8 Pack Falls 10-5 to Clemson
No. 8 NC State dropped its conference opener 10-5 to Clemson, after building a 4-0 lead over the first three innings on Friday.
The Wolfpack (11-3, 0-1 ACC) stormed out of the gates with Will Nance’s two-run homer in the bottom of the second, then added another two in the third to jump ahead 4-0. Clemson (8-4, 1-0) rallied with three in the fourth to narrow the margin to 4-3. The fifth inning turned the game, as the Tigers scored five times to extend their lead to 8-4. After trading runs in the eighth, and adding an insurance run in the ninth, Clemson hung on for a 10-5 win.
Nance’s homer marks the first of his career. Trea Turner launched his fifth home run of the season to equal the number he hit during his freshman season. Turner’s homer improves him to 22-for-26 on scoring when reaching with less than two outs. Tarran Senay’s 2-for-4 outing included an RBI double in the eighth.
NC State starter Carlos Rodon (1-2) left the game during Clemson’s big inning. Rodon struck out eight batters on the game, including all three in the second. Andrew Woeck looked sharp out of the pen, holding the Tigers to one hit over two innings with two strikeouts.