One, but not done: NC State has a lot of work to do to get NCAA bid

ncstate_logoA team with an RPI at 64 can’t complain but so much about its NCAA fate. Its coach can complain about the perception that the league that it plays is in top-heavy.

“Here’s what I have found interesting. I think as of yesterday, there was nine ACC teams in the top 80 in the RPI. … I’m not sure our league has gotten the respect it deserves,” said NC State coach Mark Gottfried after his Pack upended Miami, 67-58, in the second round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday.

The win gives State 20 Ws on the year, but it’s pretty clear to most observers that the Wolfpack will need to win another game, two or three to go dancing.

In part, that’s because the Big Four – UVa., Syracuse, Duke and North Carolina – have been so dominant. The Cavs, Orange and Blue Devils all have solid shots at #1 or #2 NCAA seeds, and UNC could easily play its way to a #3 seed if it were to bring home a tourney  trophy this weekend.

That doesn’t leave a lot of scraps for the other 11 in the ACC. Pitt likely punched its NCAA ticket today with its second-round tournament win over Wake Forest, but outside of Pitt, there aren’t a lot of overly attractive at-large resumes still playing in Greensboro.

Making it incumbent on teams like State to take care of business while they have the chance.

Gottfried isn’t sure the league is getting the respect it deserves for the depth and quality of league play, and he has a point.

“ For example, Boston College who was near the bottom can go to Syracuse and win, as did Georgia Tech. Our league doesn’t get the credit for the depth of quality teams. We added Syracuse and Pittsburgh to a league that was already good. We had 15 teams in our league,” Gottfried said.

“And the depth in our league, you know, go to Clemson and try to win at Clemson, find out how hard that is. At Pittsburgh, or even go to Wake Forest and try to win there, which they beat Duke, Carolina and NC State. Yet it doesn’t seem like our league gets credit for as you said, it seems like it’s a top heavy league. And I don’t think it is. We have good teams at the top. Syracuse spent most of the year number one in the country. I don’t care who you are. Go try to beat Duke. At Duke you got your hands full.

“ This is a great league. We got good teams all the way down through and, you know, hopefully we’ll get rewarded for that. I don’t know. We’ll see,” Gottfried said.

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


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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