Whether or not a team is going to make a deep run in postseason play has as much to do with being good as it does with a little bit of luck. The luck involved doesn’t always mean having a ball barely escape the basket with seconds to go, but sometimes it has to do with how the seeding is lined-up. If you have good match-ups, an easier road, or get a bye — looking at a tournament bracket can help determine what kind of run you can expect from a team.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack have a good team that just so happens to benefit from a little bit of luck. With the ACC tournament seeding all set-up, NC State looks like a team poised to make, at the very least, the semifinals. Not that being the five seed means you normally have an other-worldly shot at going that far, but the Wolfpack’s journey is not as difficult as some of their conference brethren.
Thursday will see North Carolina State playing ACC bottom-feeder the Virginia Tech Hokies in their first round game. The Hokies only have four in-conference wins and should be no match for the Wolfpack.
After NC State presumably takes care of VT, it is off to the next round and a game against the Virginia Cavaliers. That is the same Cavaliers who nobody can predict which version of that team is going to come out to play. If the best version of Virginia comes out to play, well, then NC State will have a difficult time trying to dispatch their ACC foe. However, there is a more than decent shot that the Cavaliers will come out flat because of the bye, and the Wolfpack will have a chance to pounce on them early.
If the Wolfpack were able to sneak by whatever version of Virginia that shows up, it’ll likely be the Miami Hurricanes waiting from them in the semifinals. Unless the Hurricanes were to get upset from whatever team comes out of the 8-9 first round match-up, I don’t imagine the Wolfpack making it any further than the semis.
Regardless, a run to the ACC tournament semifinals can only help the Wolfpack secure a solid seed in the NCAA tournament.
Do I think that NC State is the fourth best team in the ACC — no. But their bracket sets up pretty favorably and sometimes it is more about who you play than how you play.