CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina State’s chances at making the NCAA Tournament look questionable at best. Wednesday’s comeback win over Clemson in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament was a sort of play-in game for the Wolfpack, but the remainder of the postseason is murky after getting walloped by Virginia, 76-56, in Thursday’s quarterfinal.
Wolfpack players made their case for being included in the field come this weekend’s selections.
“Playing in the best conference in the country and winning 10 games this year, we feel like that helps our resume,” said Braxton Beverly. “This is the granddaddy of the conference tournaments. There’s this much talent to go against.”
“There shouldn’t be any issue with us,” added coach Kevin Keatts. “We’ve always talked about Quad 1 and Quad 2 wins. Well, we just played the No. 1 net team in the country.”
The best of those 10 ACC wins was a 73-58 victory over Syracuse on Feb. 13. It was the only meeting between the Orange and Wolfpack this season. The other teams it beat were Miami, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Clemson.
N.C. State struggled against the likes of Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina, but a late-season stumble at home against Georgia Tech could also put the Wolfpack on the outside looking in come this weekend’s selection.
Outside of the ACC, N.C. State didn’t do itself any favors by lining up the likes of Maryland-Eastern Shore and UNC-Asheville. It ranks 216th in the nation in opponent win percentage and 146th in strength of schedule, per CBS Sports. Is a win over a good Auburn team enough to make up for an otherwise underwhelming non-conference schedule?
The Wolfpack is on the bubble in every sense of the phrase. Getting into the tournament likely wouldn’t be the biggest shocker in the field, although it may upset another bubble team down the road in UNC-Greensboro. But still, it’s tough to make a case for any 8th place team to make the NCAA Tournament, regardless of whether its conference is the “grandaddy” of them all.