Bubble Watch: N.C. State’s NCAA Tournament Hopes Vanish With Duke Loss
After fighting tooth and nail with Duke through the first half of an ACC tournament semi-final match, N.C. State succumbed in the second half and ended up with a 75-67 loss. The feel of despair for those on N.C. State after the game was palpable, as they could clearly see the writing on the wall that they will not make the NCAA tournament.
When one looks at the overall resume that N.C. State has, there are few that will be overly impressed. Their record of 21-13 is only justified by the fact that they play in the thoroughly difficult ACC, and losses to mediocre sides such as Wake Forest, Miami, Clemson, Missouri and NCCU only puts a further damper on their resume. When you add onto this that N.C. State went 2-8 against the teams that are above them in the ACC, it is made even more difficult to justify them earning one of the last available spots in the NCAA tournament.
Turning over to actual team-wide talent for N.C. State, there really isn’t much to be seen behind star forward and ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren. Aside from Warren, only Ralston Turner averaged more than 10 points per game, only Lennard Freeman picked up more than five rebounds per game and no other player even had one steal a game. Simply put, N.C. State was reliant on Warren to be their savior every game, and Duke displayed in the second half of the semi-final match that if you double team the forward and block all passing lanes to him, that the Wolfpack are a helpless side.
After adding up a record that is underwhelming, player personnel that is unspectacular at best and then add in that N.C. State is ranked 52nd in the RPI, it is clear they are not cut out to be an NCAA tournament team. The selection committee should know this harsh reality more than anyone else, and they will ensure that the Wolfpack play their postseason basketball in the NIT this season.