Oh, so close: Can NC State knock off Syracuse?

ncstate_logoThis was back when Syracuse was still undefeated and apparently undefeatable, though increasingly vulnerable. NC State led the Orange by one in the final seconds in the Carrier Dome, and then couldn’t get the ball in bounds.

A Syracuse steal, bucket, et cetera, ballgame. ‘Cuse wins, remains unbeaten a little longer, and State was denied what would have been a signature win for its otherwise weak NCAA resume.

You hate losing those kinds of games, but the Pack (20-12, 10-9 ACC) has a chance at redemption on Friday against the #2 seed Syracuse (27-4, 14-4 ACC). Can the Pack make up for the mistakes that doomed them at the end of the game up in New York?

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to play them again,” said sophomore forward TJ Warren, the ACC Player of the Year, who scored 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the win over Miami on Thursday.” We’re going to be up to play them, we’re going to come out aggressive, with a lot of energy and be ready to play.”

Any lessons from that trip home from Syracuse that can help on Friday? Gottfried was coy when asked that question.

“I don’t think anybody spent more time at number one this year than Syracuse. We played them very tough up there. And we felt pretty bad walking out of that locker room that night. So we get another opportunity and it’s a golden opportunity. So it’s up to us and we got to come ready to play against a really good team tomorrow. With (Jermi) Grant back, they’re a Final Four team. They’ve shown it all year long,” Gottfried said.

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The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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