My, how the mighty have fallen.
How does a team start the season ranked No. 6 overall as the favorites to finish the season at the top of the ACC–a conference which has been dominated by hated rivals Duke and North Carolina for exactly the last nine years–to being a bubble team?
Although it seems neither Duke nor UNC will win the conference this season, it’s not going to be preseason favorite North Carolina State doing the dethroning.
Finding themselves 21-8 (10-6 ACC), with games left against Wake Forest and at Florida State to finish the season, it’s feasible that a team with two preseason First Team ACC guys might be NIT-bound. However, with that said, it’s also likely that they win out, making them a 23-win team with a win over Duke when they were the number one team in the nation.
But starting the year with such high expectations and losing every single other game they played against a ranked opponent on the season might skew the selection committee come Selection Sunday.
I’m holding out hope for Mark Gottfried’s guys as they still sport the 25th best RPI in the country and they’ll have the opportunity to pick up another couple of wins next week in the ACC Tournament to add to whatever they do against two opponents who will absolutely not be playing in any prestigious postseason tournaments.
The only way I could see the Wolfpack missing out on the big dance is if they lose out against Wake and FSU, but considering Wake has only won two of their last 10 and FSU has only been slightly better, if NC State finds a way to lose these games, they SHOULD miss the tournament.
Bottom line, I think they get in.
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