March 10, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Ron Green Jr (N&O)
With gritty win, Wolfpack makes NCAA case
N.C. State is making itself comfortable in this land of hope and dreams where its basketball season now resides.
With its gritty 67-64 victory over Virginia Friday in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, the Wolfpack assured itself of remaining in the discussion in Indianapolis where the game’s bracket builders are piecing together the NCAA tournament field this weekend.
Was a victory over a good but not great Virginia team enough to push the Wolfpack over the edge from out to in?
Edward Aschoff (ESPN.com)
Wolfpack say they’re a tournament team
Heading into the second round of the ACC tournament, all the talk concerning North Carolina State and its NCAA tournament chances centered on beating Virginia.
Or was it?
Now that NC State’s 67-64 win over the Cavaliers is in the books, the Wolfpack can only sit and speculate on the fate of their tournament chances. They know their bubble didn’t burst, but was their winning effort enough to persuade an NCAA tournament committee that was probably on the fence about NCSU?
LUKE DECOCK (N&O)
Leslie growing up before our eyes
One of the big differences between pro sports and college sports is that, for the most part, the college kids are just that — kids.
Thereâ€™s the odd 18- or 19-year-old on a pro team, but for the most part theyâ€™ve been to college or fought their way up through the minors. College teams are loaded with 18-year-olds, of course, and there are times where boys become men before our eyes.
Thatâ€™s happening right now with C.J. Leslie, who is growing up so fast on so many levels. The detached, sulking Leslie that stumbled through his freshman year at N.C. State is gone, replaced by a confident, driven young man whoâ€™s taking over games. He may sense the NBA approaching rapidly, but thatâ€™s no reason not to appreciate the growth in Leslie, who will turn 22 in June.
As he has been for the last month, Leslie was a demon on the court in todayâ€™s win over Virginia. At one point, Lorenzo Brown asked for the ball back. Leslie shrugged him off, took his man to the rim and scored. Not long after, while his teammates conceded a rebound and went back on defense, Leslie tore the ball out of Akil Mitchellâ€™s hands in what may have been the hustle high point of his entire N.C. State career.
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
NCSU still looking ahead
The most impressive thing about N.C. State’s basketball team Friday may not have been its work in a 67-64 must-win game against Virginia.
Instead, it might have been in how quickly the Wolfpack players were willing – even anxious – to put the achievement in their memory bank.
“There’s something more important tomorrow now,” said Wolfpack senior C.J. Williams, referring to Saturday’s ACC tournament semifinal shot against UNC.
“This is what we’ve worked out butts off for all along,” Williams said. “We worked all summer for this – out there in the hot sun every day, running, sweating and doing everything we could to get in shape.”
J.P. GIGLIO (N&O)
N.C. State’s upset of Virginia gives Pack another shot at Heels
Mark Gottfried scribbled four steps in black marker on the greaseboard in N.C. State’s locker room. Boston College was written under the first step, followed by Virginia, North Carolina and “ACC Champs!!” on the last step.
After N.C. State’s 67-64 win over Virginia on Friday in the ACC tournament, Gottfried added a checkmark next to the Cavaliers on the board. Up next: the top-seeded Tar Heels, who have a 12-game winning streak over the Wolfpack.
C.J. Leslie’s 19 points and 14 rebounds lifted N.C. State (22-11) to a much-needed win for its NCAA tournament hopes. With Texas (43 in the RPI) and Miami (49) moving into the top 50 of the RPI with conference tournament wins on Thursday, the Wolfpack now has four wins over the top 50, one of the numbers the selection committee considers when it picks the at-large pool for the 68-team field.
Will it be enough to move the Pack off the bubble and into the tournament for the first time since 2006?
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
N.C. State senior C.J. Williams might get to live his NCAA tournament dream after all
N.C. State senior C.J. Williams is one step closer to realizing his dream of playing in the NCAA tournament.
Williams, a graduate of Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, had six points, three assists and three steals in the Wolfpackâ€™s 67-64 win in an ACC tournament quarterfinal against Virginia on Friday. A first victory against a team ranked in the top 50 of the RPI could be enough to help N.C. State receive an NCAA at-large berth.
â€œI’m not afraid to say it; I think we should be in,â€ Williams said. â€œWe hear all the talk about, â€˜You need to win this one,â€™ and we won it. Now, what does that mean? We’re not finished yet. We came here to win an ACC championship.â€
Senior walk-on Kendall Smith approached Williams as soon as he entered the locker room, and they said the same thing to each other: For four years, weâ€™ve been fighting for this.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Scott Wood issues challenge to N.C. State fans
Scott Wood has a theory as to why N.C. State struggled at the free-throw line against Virginia. He was guilty himself, missing a crucial attempt with 22 seconds left and the Wolfpack leading by three points.
He blamed a large gathering of spectators in Carolina blue.
â€œI personally think Carolina fans were just blowing all at the same time when we shot the ball,â€ Wood joked.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Suddenly, N.C. Stateâ€™s NCAA resume looks a lot better
The past 24 hours have been good to the N.C. State basketball team.
Within the span of that one dayâ€™s time, the Wolfpack has greatly enhanced its postseason resume and put itself in position to end a five-year NCAA tournament drought by picking up four wins against teams ranked among the top 50 in the RPI ratings.
And it has only played twice.
The phenomenon is the result of wins by Texas and ACC rival Miami, which catapulted both teams from just outside the top 50 into that elite group. Because the Wolfpack has beaten the Hurricanes twice and the Longhorns once this season, it went from having no top 50 wins to three without ever having taken the court.
Win No. 4 came Friday afternoon when coach Mark Gottfriedâ€™s surging team took care of business with a 67-64 victory against Virginia in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.
Top 50 wins are one of the criteria used by the NCAA tournament selection committee to differentiate between bubble teams battling for the final few at large spots in the field of 68.
Michael Lananna (accsports.com)
N.C. State Gets A Lift From Leslie
With 40 seconds left and the N.C. State lead chipped down to a slim two points Friday, Virginia seemed poised to pull the rug from right under the Wolfpackâ€™s feet.
After all, the ball was in Mike Scottâ€™s hands.
The senior forward and ACC Player of the Year runner-up already had 23 points to his name by the time he positioned himself under the basket for the shot. Had he made it, it wouldâ€™ve pulled the fourth-seeded Cavaliers within one.
But C.J. Leslie had other ideas.
The Wolfpack forward didnâ€™t give Scott much space to put the ball up, and once it bounced off the rim, he was there to snag the rebound.
â€œWhen the time is down, you have to get in a stance and play tough defense,â€ Leslie said. â€œI wanted to be in a position to challenge that shot.â€
David Glenn (accsports.com)
David Glennâ€™s ACC Tourney Mailbag
Tony Barnhart (cbssports.com)
After long lapse, coach Gottfried makes N.C. State relevant again
Draw near, dear children, and I will tell you a story that you’ll find hard to believe.
Once upon a time, long before you were only a gleam in your mother’s eye, North Carolina State was the dominant college basketball team, not only in the state of North Carolina, but the ACC as well.
Yes, I know. In your lifetime all you have ever known is the dominance of Duke and North Carolina. Mike Krzyzewski has been at Duke forever, or at least it seems that way, and has won more games than anybody else. Dean Smith retired at North Carolina in 1997 and Roy Williams eventually picks up the baby blue mantle and they just keep rolling. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when red was the dominant color — or even a relevant color — in the Tar Heel state.
But that time did exist.
Everett Case came to N.C. State in 1946 after winning four Indiana state high school championships and turned North Carolina into a basketball crazy part of the world.
N.C. State won the first three ACC tournament championships (1954-56). In an effort to keep up, Duke would eventually hire a Case disciple, Vic Bubas, as coach. North Carolina would go to New York and hire Frank McGuire in 1952 because its boosters were tired of losing to N.C. State.
And we were off and running.
Williams: There is an added intensity to UNC-NCSU game
Leslie: It’s going to be a great game
Brown: We just had to keep our focus
Wood: We’ve been fighting all year
Eamonn Brennan (espn.com)
College Basketball Bubble Watch
Miami fell short against Florida State. Tennessee suffered a crushing loss in overtime to Ole Miss. Cal fell to Colorado in the Pac-12 semis. Saint Joe’s fell out of sight after an A-10 quarterfinals loss to St. Bonaventure. Dayton lost to rival Xavier 70-69 thanks to a late play by guard Mark Lyons, a loss that will keep the Flyers out of the field barring a surprise.
But as is always the case on the bubble, there was a winner for every loser. Take Xavier: While it doesn’t count as a marquee win, beating the Flyers allowed the Musketeers to clearly improve their position. Ole Miss got on the bubble as Tennessee moved off. Unlike its ACC brethren Hurricanes, NC State held on for a top-50 win over Virginia, while teams such as Marshall (which beat Southern Miss) entered the fray and a pair of mid-majors (Iona and Drexel) got themselves in striking distance simply by watching from home.
North Carolina State [22-11 (9-7), RPI: 59, SOS: 31] The Wolfpack desperately needed to avoid the fate so many bubble teams suffered Wednesday and Thursday, and they did, holding on for a 67-64 win over Virginia during Friday’s ACC quarterfinals. Where does that leave NC State? Things are looking up, and not just because of Friday’s win. Texas and Miami also managed to sneak into the RPI top 50 as of Friday morning, which means the Wolfpack — who entered the weekend 0-8 against top-50 teams — now have four such wins (including a sweep of Miami) to their credit. Sure, each of the four teams is in the 40s in the RPI, so it’s not exactly a batch of marquee victories. But either way, this resume — which now includes a 6-9 mark against the top 100 — looks much less specious. A semifinals win over UNC would seal the deal. Short of that, NC State may still find itself on the bubble. But as Mark Gottfried intimated on the broadcast Friday, his young team is now in much better shape along the cutline now.
Ray Fagan (TSN.com)
Field of 68: Did Virginia’s loss hurt its NCAA seeding?
1. N.C. State. The Wolfpack seem to be one of the very few bubble teams playing with confidence, and Friday nightâ€™s victory against Virginia might be enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, which is an eternity for that fan base. A win Saturday against North Carolina would seal their at-large berth, but the win against Virginia might be enough regardless of how the game with the Tar Heels finishes.
1. Miami. Friday was a double-whammy day for the Hurricanes, who found out that guard Durand Scott was ineligible for potential NCAA violations and then lost to rival Florida State in the ACC Tournament. They still have that ace-in-the-hole win at Duke, but that probably wonâ€™t be enough to offset the fact that they have just two other wins against top 100 teams.
3. Virginia. The Cavs have long been considered pretty safeâ€”beating Michigan back in November helped with thatâ€”but their resume gets pretty thin after the win against the Wolverines. Their RPI in the 50s and 2-6 record against top 50 teamsâ€”one of those wins was against the N.C. State team that beat them Fridayâ€”puts them in a big group of teams that might not sleep too soundly on Saturday night.
LAST FOUR IN
FIRST FOUR OUT
NEXT FOUR OUT
Joe Lunardi (espn.com)
Jerry Palm (cbssports.com)
Top seeds got roughed up in conference tournament play Friday, and while Syracuse and Temple aren’t much worse for wear, Kansas’ loss bumps it off the top line. Ohio State, playing Saturday afternoon against Michigan in the Big Ten semifinals, will take the Jayhawks place as a top seed. Other name teams, including Miami, Nevada and Seton Hall, fall off the bracket altogether.
Last four in: Colorado State, Mississippi, Northwestern, South Florida
First four out: …
Jerry Palm (cbssports.com)
RPI Rankings (1-68)
Menâ€™s College Basketball RPI Rankings
Shawn Siegel (CollegeHoops.net)
Bracketology: NC State In, Miami Out, Duke a #1?
NC State also replaced Miami in the field. Besides beating Virginia today, NC State has two wins over Miami which certainly helps. Northwestern remains the last team, while Drexel the first out. At the top of the bracket, Duke regained a #1 seed, giving the ACC two #1 seeds. This is quite controversial, but when you look at the season in total, Duke’s wins over the likes of Michigan St, Kansas, Michigan, and UNC stack up with anybody. Cincinnati also moved into the final 7 spot, jumping 2 seeds thanks to the win over Syracuse. The Orange remain the 2nd overall team despite the loss.
Last In: Northwestern, Tennessee, NC State, Seton Hall
First Out: Drexel, Miami, South Florida, Ole Miss
Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Head Columnist)
2012 March Madness Picks: 2012 Bracketology Picks (Updated 3/10)
12 Seeds â€“ Texas Longhorns, VCU Rams, Washington Huskies, NC State Wolfpack
Texasâ€™ win over Iowa State should be enough to get it in this field in our eyes. Itâ€™s not a great resume, but itâ€™s not an awful one, and in this field, â€œnot awfulâ€ might be good enough. VCU is still sitting pretty, but weâ€™re not all that sure about its CAA brethren, Drexel. Washington is a team that we would love to keep out, but right now, we just donâ€™t see anyone else getting in, especially from the Pac-12 unless Colorado wins the conference. NC State is the team that has done the most to help itself this week, winning twice in the ACC Tournament. A third win over UNC on Saturday and there is no doubt that the Wolfpack are dancing.
Chris Dobbertean (sbnation.com)
Bracketology 2012: Kentucky All But Locks Up Top Overall Seed
– After topping Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals, N.C. State jumps into the field, replacing Miami, a team they happened to defeat twice during the regular season. The Hurricanes failed to respond as they fell to Florida State after learning that Durand Scott was suspended by the NCAA.
– The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are suddenly hovering ever closer to the cut line. Sure, Tony Bennett’s team owns an early win over Michigan, but Virginia failed to defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils and Florida St. Seminoles in the ACC. A 2-1 mark against the Wolfpack and Miami Hurricanes along with that win over the Wolverines and another over Drexel when Chris Fouch was injured, should be enough. But it could be closer than expected for Virginia.
Last Four In
California, Southern Mississippi, Colorado State and BYU sit above the group that may very well be ticketed for Dayton on Sunday evening.
All records and RPI and SOS are accurate as of Saturday, March 10, 2012 and are courtesy BBState.com. Records only reflect games against Division I competition, per Selection Committee standards.
Drexel (27-6, 18-3 CAA, RPI: 70, SOS: 222, non-conf. SOS: 215)
The Dragons lost just twice after a slow 2-4 start, when they were hampered by the absence or ineffectiveness of guard Chris Fouch, who was recuperating from a knee injury. Bruiser Flint’s club certainly passes the “eye” test, particularly by how they came back against VCU in the CAA final on Monday night. However, the weakness of Drexel’s non-conference schedule and a relative down year for its conference could see them left out in the cold.
South Florida (19-13, 13-7 Big East, RPI: 40, SOS: 27, non-conf. SOS: 28)
The Bulls must sit and wait after but they were completely unable to put away Notre Dame on Thursday night. Recent wins over the two Big East finalists help the Bulls’ case, especially the road win over Louisville, as does a win over fellow bubble team Seton Hall. However, early season struggles could make this a close call for USF.
N.C. State (22-11, 11-7 ACC, RPI: 53, SOS: 26, non-conf. SOS: 65)
The Wolfpack toppled Virginia this afternoon to pick up another quality win. Recent victories by Miami and Texas also boost N.C. State’s case. A win over North Carolina in tomorrow’s ACC semifinal would all but seal the deal for Mark Gottfried’s squad.
Mississippi State (21-11, 8-9 SEC, RPI: 65, SOS: 66, non-conf. SOS: 52)
One standout win (at Vanderbilt) and a handful of decent ones (Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona) help the Bulldogs’ case. Maddening inconsistency, highlighted by two losses at the hands of Georgia and a loss at Auburn, do not.