‘A sweet 16 without Rick Barnes is like basically every sweet 16’

Photo credit: Greg Mintel, NewsObserver.com

Ahhh….some fun stuff for an open entry for tonight’s late session of NCAA Tournament games.

If you are looking for A LOT of Wolfpack talk, then please spend some time on our message forums available by clicking here. The activity and conversation is very dynamic right now.

FWIW, Georgetown has opened as a four point favorite over the Wolfpack for Sunday’s Round of 32 game in Columbus, OH.

I enjoyed this (read more below):

If you follow our Twitter feed then I hope you saw the following observations:

NOT playing basketball that matters anymore in 2012 – Sean Miller, Brad Stevens, Rick Barnes, Gregg Marshall & Herb Sendek. #Gottfather

RT @tucker_andrew maybe Sean Miller & Rick Barnes can meet up this weekend & talk about how crappy the NC State job would’ve been

…now, if only Shaka Kahn would lose tomorrow…

NC State win not an ‘upset’ from Sports Illustrated. (Link)

When the Wolfpack was the last team named on Selection Sunday, they celebrated with a kind of joy rarely seen on Tobacco Road. Their neighbors, Duke and North Carolina, greet such news with a yawn and an expectation to reach the Final Four.

N.C. State has two national championship banners hanging in its own rafters but haven’t been a sure bet in the tournament for years. Wolfpack fans are demanding, their neighborhood exclusive. Gottfried is trying to turn those elements into a positive.

“It raises the bar for everything,” he said. “Our neighbors have been very good and for us it’s a challenge to raise [the bar] higher. We’ve got a hungry fan base. …I think all those things work in our favor.”

N.C. State is the underdog that doesn’t look like one. Or play like one. And may be around for a while.

Luke DeCock (News & Observer):

Only the NCAA thought the 11th-seeded Wolfpack’s 79-65 win over the sixth-seeded Aztecs was an upset. “Confidence” was the word most often mentioned afterward: How the team played with confidence and how the players credited the coaching staff for giving them confidence. It was a reminder of just how much had changed in less than a year.

“I believe in these guys, I really do,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “I have believed that if in fact they could do things the right way, defend the right way, execute offense at key times, that they had a chance. So it’s nice to see all that come together right now.”

If there’s one thing N.C. State’s program didn’t have when Gottfried walked in the door 11 months ago, it was confidence. The players had been beaten down by too many bad losses and unmet expectations.

Yet here they are, exceeding all expectations. Gottfried set the bar low over the summer, describing the talent on the team as “not great” and “not terrible,” but by the time ACC season rolled around, he was talking about the NCAA tournament. Now, the words “Final Four” keep popping out of his mouth with somewhat surprising regularity.


Just about everyone who filled out a bracket, from the President of the United States to the talking heads on television, had N.C. State advancing.

That didn’t put any more pressure on the Wolfpack, especially since Gottfried made sure his players understood the science behind such lofty predictions.

“You’ve got to remember I was two years in that business,” said Gottfried, who worked as an analyst for ESPN after resigning from Alabama in 2009. “I was on TV and what you learn is none of us knew much about anything anyway. We were just saying that.”

“I told them have fun with all that stuff, but the game is about what happens on the floor.”

What happened on the floor was a whole lot of 6-foot-9 Howell and 6-8 C.J. Leslie, combining for 37 points for N.C. State. When the Aztecs were able to effectively double sophomore Leslie, Howell stepped up. When Howell got into foul trouble in the second half, Leslie came through. It was too much for the Aztecs, who relinquished the lead with 5:47 to play in the first half and never led again.

Though San Diego State came into the contest as the more experienced team, they didn’t resemble the squad that made it to the Sweet 16 a year ago. Four of those starters were gone, either to graduation or the NBA.

N.C. State, in contrast, had little tournament experience — the Wolfpack’s last appearance was in 2006. But rather than being overwhelmed or nervous they seemed very much at home. Gottfried said that on Friday morning they were a little bit anxious but mostly giddy.

“They were excited,” he said. “I wasn’t going to curb that. I want them to be excited.”


It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Wolfpack under Gottfried. They’ve improved by eight wins over last season, which ended with the firing of coach Sidney Lowe, and they made it to the NCAA tournament despite losing four in a row in February.

Howell, averaging 10.7 points a game, hit 7 of 9 shots—including some where he stepped outside to pour in jumpers.

“He does it all the time in practice,” said Brown, who also chipped in with eight assists. “I’m just glad he was hitting good shots. He was just feeling it, I guess.”

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11-12 Basketball

131 Responses to ‘A sweet 16 without Rick Barnes is like basically every sweet 16’

  1. Wufpacker 03/16/2012 at 9:11 PM #


    Only makes me even more pissed that we didn’t beat them when we had them down in Cameron.

  2. StateFans 03/16/2012 at 9:13 PM #

    This is the FIRST time in my FORTY years that I have pulled against an ACC team not named UNC-CH in the NCAA Tournament. I have no choice anymore. They have made this be the case.

  3. Alpha Wolf 03/16/2012 at 9:13 PM #

    Somewhere, Everett Case is smiling. He hated him some Blue Devils.

  4. Alpha Wolf 03/16/2012 at 9:14 PM #

    “Stunned silence here,” said Jim Nantz as the mostly pro-Lehigh crowd howled the last couple of seconds of the game before a foul stopped the clock.

    Didn’t pre-write this kind of ending, did ya Jimmy?

  5. Rick 03/16/2012 at 9:14 PM #

    The ACC is not doing the bless any favors

  6. projectwentynine 03/16/2012 at 9:14 PM #


    I resent Duke and their position in college basketball due to the biased officiating they enjoy even more than I do UNC-CH, as at least UNC-CH is actually good. Duke is a fraud.

  7. MrPlywood 03/16/2012 at 9:15 PM #


  8. Wufpacker 03/16/2012 at 9:16 PM #

    Wow. You guys weren’t kidding about the Lehigh cheerleaders.

  9. Alpha Wolf 03/16/2012 at 9:16 PM #

    Long time since you won that national championship two years ago, huh Mikey?

  10. MrPlywood 03/16/2012 at 9:16 PM #

    Damn, does Rivers have any legs? He seems to land on his ass after every shot.

  11. medgar 03/16/2012 at 9:19 PM #

    Lets place the bets. How many time will Coach K say a much he loves these guys. How many minutes in the PC before he gets emotional.

    Blah Blah Blah As Dylan says “The times they are a changing”

  12. MrPlywood 03/16/2012 at 9:19 PM #

    Yep, two teams in the Triangle are casting a looooong shadow tonight. Amile, I hope you were watching!

  13. motorhead 03/16/2012 at 9:24 PM #

    2 out of 3 today. The Heels losing to Vermont would’ve been greedy. I do agree with projecttwentynine. At least UNC is good. Duke are posers

  14. redcanine 03/16/2012 at 9:28 PM #

    Rick, I found the article but I don’t know how to link it.

  15. Alpha Wolf 03/16/2012 at 9:30 PM #

    Calling Seth Davis, Seth, where are you? All the other guys that have been on the panel all day are there, why is not their resident Duke guy?

  16. Rick 03/16/2012 at 9:33 PM #

    cut and paste it

  17. BJD95 03/16/2012 at 9:34 PM #

    Duke, you cheating, flopping, arrogant bastards…allow us (and Lehigh) to introduce you to karma!

    That ending took so long I apparently missed a frenetic St. Mary’s comeback which keeps one of my brackets barely alive. Woohoo!!!!!

  18. redcanine 03/16/2012 at 9:34 PM #


    Whaddya know. I’m no engineer, btw. The last sentence says it all.

  19. Wufpacker 03/16/2012 at 9:39 PM #

    WTF? What happened with the Purdue/StMary’s game? I moved away from it believing Purdue had won. What’d I miss?

    EDIT – Nevermind….just checked scores. BJD scared me, but Purdue won. Thought I was losing it.

  20. YogiNC 03/16/2012 at 9:40 PM #

    I thought we were supposed to be chopping wood, I mean that’s what it takes to be a successful program isn’t it?

    As for cheerleaders … Ummmm Lehigh is NOT a lofty destination for ummm diva’s…it takes brains AND bucks to go there … and you actually have to study. That puts lots of barriers up. YMMV.

  21. tuckerdorm1983 03/16/2012 at 9:40 PM #

    Mr. Amile Jefferson come and play for an up and coming team with an up and coming coach from an up and coming school and not from a team that was embarrassed on national television. Turn the FAB 3 into the FAB 4.

  22. BJD95 03/16/2012 at 9:40 PM #

    Shit, thought the St. Mary’s score was final. It wasn’t. Worth having busted brackets. Today was awesome. Go Pack, and go Creighton!!

    I don’t know how anyone could not have hated Duke for at least 20 years. But better late than never, Jeff!

  23. BJD95 03/16/2012 at 9:42 PM #

    St. Mary’s WAS ahead 69-68 super late, but lost 72-69. Purdue had been ahead by 8-10 all night, it seemed.

  24. gtspack 03/16/2012 at 9:46 PM #

    Duke it’s not fun playing without acc refs.

  25. Lunatic Fringe 03/16/2012 at 9:46 PM #

    My buddy, Duke fan, and I have been saying all year that Duke is the worst top 10 team we have ever seen. Lehigh just helped prove the point.

    Barkley complimenting K for what he has done with that team (without athletes) is hilarious. Who in the hell does he think built this team? The team is what K wants it to be and in my opinion his reluctance (or inability) to get in trenches to recruit top guys will ultimately be his downfall.

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