College Basketball Nation: NC State

Victory is sweet for Wolfpack, Spartans

March, 18, 2012

Greg Bartram/US Presswire
C.J. Williams celebrates North Carolina State's first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2005.

Here's a snapshot look at the early-afternoon games as eight more teams look to advance to the Sweet 16 on Sunday.

(11) North Carolina State 66, (3) Georgetown 63
The North Carolina State Wolfpack were the 68th team to hear its name called on Selection Sunday. One week later, they are among the 16 teams to survive the first weekend of play, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005.

NC State erased an early 10-point deficit with a 30-9 run over 11 minutes spanning the first and second half, and held off a late rally by the Georgetown Hoyas for the 3-point victory.

The Wolfpack used a strong inside game to dominate the Hoyas on the boards. NC State grabbed more than twice as many offensive rebounds as Georgetown and nearly doubled up the Hoyas in second-chance points.

C.J. Leslie had seven second-chance points, nearly as many as the entire Georgetown team, and 10 of the Wolfpack’s 20 points in the paint.

NC State’s efficiency on the perimeter also proved to be a key weapon in the upset win. The Wolfpack made 7-of-15 shots (47 percent) from beyond the arc against a Georgetown team that entered the game holding opponents to a Division I-best 28 percent shooting on 3-point attempts this season.

The early-round upset loss for Georgetown was hardly a surprise. This is the third straight year the Hoyas have been eliminated by a team seeded at least five spots lower. They are the third team with such a streak, joining DePaul (1980-82) and Florida (2002-04).

(1) Michigan State 65, (9) Saint Louis 61
The Spartans advance to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the last five seasons thanks to another big game from senior Draymond Green.

Green stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. It’s his eighth game this season with at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists – no other player in Division I has more than three such games.

Michigan State sealed the win with a much-improved half-court offense after halftime.

The Spartans shot over 60 percent in the half-court and turned the ball over just twice in the final 20 minutes, after coughing it up eight times on 29 half-court possessions in the first half.

The Saint Louis Billikens were looking for their first Sweet 16 appearance, but once again Rick Majerus failed to reach the second weekend with an underdog.

Majerus is now 0-5 all-time in the Round of 32 as a lower seed, including a loss to the Spartans in 2000 when they won the national championship.

Final: NC State 59, Clemson 57

March, 11, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Postgame thoughts from North Carolina State 59, Clemson 57.

  • [+] EnlargeTracy Smith
    Andrew Synowiez/US PresswireNC State's Tracy Smith scored 19 points against Clemson on Thursday.
    The Redcoat Revival is back on. For another day, at least. Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe and his bright-red suit coach will live to coach in the ACC quarterfinals for the first time since he originally broke it out in his first year, 2007. That year, Lowe wore the coat four straight days as NC State made an improbable run to the final before losing to North Carolina.

  • This time, Wolfpack fans can revel in the fact that they've advanced farther than the rival Tar Heels in this tournament for the first time since 2004. Carolina was bounced Thursday night by Georgia Tech.

  • The main force driving NC State into the quarterfinals was junior strongman Tracy Smith, who had 19 points and eight rebounds and was the team's only scorer in double figures.

  • Clemson star Trevor Booker got frustrated in the late going with his lack of touches offensively. Given the inability of his teammates to make shots, it's hard to blame him. Booker should have gotten more than 11 shots, though that still was a team high and he scored a team-high 17 points.

  • It was a good night for coaches on the hot seat. Paul Hewitt got a win over North Carolina in the first of two night games, and then Lowe followed up with the upset in the nightcap.

  • And it was a good day in Greesnboro for underdogs. Seeds No. 12 (Miami), 11 (N.C. State) and 9 (Virginia) all will play in the quarterfinals Friday. Then again, that's nothing new. In the last five ACC tournaments, the 11 and 12 seeds are a combined 7-3 in the opening round.

  • Horn-blower warning: In my witheringly insightful pre-tournament primer, I tabbed NC State as the most dangerous low seed and Wake Forest as the most vulnerable high seed. That's two calls correct in March with plenty of errant predictions so far.

Today's ACC tournament games

March, 11, 2010
Previewing today’s games in the ACC:

Boston College-Virginia, noon

At stake: Both teams are hoping this is the beginning of a stunning run of four victories in four days. Not likely for either, but you have to start somewhere.

Who has the edge: The Eagles. Virginia has lost nine straight and suspended its leading scorer, Sylven Landesberg, for academic shortcomings. BC won by 13 when the two met in Chestnut Hill on March 3.

Stat to watch: Virginia has attempted the fewest free throws of anyone in the ACC, just 485. Next fewest is Boston College at 537, a full 80 fewer attempts than 10th-place Miami. Can either struggling offensive team find the easiest way to score by getting to the foul line?

Miami-Wake Forest, 2 p.m.

At stake: Miami is hoping for a miracle. The Demon Deacons are playing for NCAA seeding and would like to win their first postseason game since 2008.

Who has the edge: Wake, but not as big an edge as you might think. They’re played poorly down the stretch, losing four of their past five, and the teams split their two regular-season meetings.

Stat to watch: Wake Forest leads the nation in effective field-goal percentage defense, according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistics. Miami, meanwhile, is a pretty good shooting team at 46.2 percent, second-best in the league. Which strength wins the day?

Georgia Tech-North Carolina, 7 p.m.

At stake: Tech needs to win this game and perhaps another to feel secure about an NCAA tournament bid – and coach Paul Hewitt needs an NCAA tournament bid to feel secure about keeping his job. The Tar Heels are simply trying to pick their teeth up off the ground and salvage something from a disastrous season.

Who has the edge: Georgia Tech swept the season series, winning close in Chapel Hill and by 17 in Atlanta. And the Yellow Jackets are closer to playing for something than the Heels.

Stat to watch: Which team takes care of the ball? Both have committed more turnovers than they’ve forced – Carolina is last in the 12-team ACC in turnover margin in league games, and Georgia Tech is tied for eighth.

North Carolina State-Clemson, 9 p.m.

At stake: North Carolina State is hoping to start a run – and, potentially, hoping to extend Sidney Lowe’s tenure as coach. The Tigers are trying to improve their NCAA seeding.

Who has the edge: Clemson. It won the only meeting between the two this season by three points in Raleigh. But NC State has won three of its past four coming into this game.

Stat to watch: NC State is shooting just 44 percent on the season – and that drops to 40 percent in league games, last in the ACC. But the Wolfpack shot 50 percent or better in their past two victories. If Clemson keeps the Pack closer to 40 percent accuracy than 50 percent, it should win.