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The interesting case of “rooting” for other teams

NC State needs a lot to go right to go right today

North Carolina State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Well, NC State put itself in the position we were hoping to avoid. The Wolfpack had the opportunity to win out and lock up a top 4 seed in the ACC Tournament, thus getting a double bye. As has been seen in the past, the team got in their own way, making the task unnecessarily more complicated by losing to Georgia Tech. I don’t know, maybe the ice cream isn’t good in Atlanta? The Pack have to win their final game against Lousville, that much is obvious. But they also require 3 other ACC matchups to go a very certain way.

It is an interesting position to be in as a fan. You want your own team to win, but you’re also looking for other teams to win. Usually I’ll watch other games out of general interest, but a rooting interest puts a different flavor on it. It’s not a great feeling, to be honest, and puts an unnecessary amount of stress on the final day of the regular season. But it’s more about watching with interest for our own team, rather than truly rooting for the other one.

So, what needs to go right for the Pack start the conference tournament in the quarterfinals?

12:00 PM, Virginia Tech (21-9, 10-7) @ Miami (21-8, 10-7)

Needs: NC State needs VT to go on the road and beat Miami. These two teams have a lot to play for. The winner gets the 3 seed, the loser the 7, given the other matchups go according to plan. Expect this one to be close. Line for the game is Miami -3.

UPDATE: Miami may not have covered the spread, but they won the game, thus knocking the Wolfpack out of the double bye. Thanks.

2:00 PM #18 Clemson (22-7, 11-6) @ Syracuse (18-12, 7-10)

Needs: NC State needs an inconsistent Syracuse team to beat a ranked and quite good Clemson team. This may be the hardest ask. Clemson themselves are fighting for their own double bye. Best case for the Tigers is a 3 seed. Working in the Pack’s favor is today is Syracuse’s senior day, they are 13-5 at home, and Clemson is 4-5 on the road. Then again Syracuse has also lost 3 in a row. Line for the game is Syracuse -1.

UPDATE: Syracuse took care of business, good win for them. Keeps State in contention for the 5 seed.

6:00 PM Louisville (19-11, 9-8) @ NC State (20-10, 10-7)

Needs: NC State win (duh). Louisville is squarely on the bubble. 11 seed and Last Four In based on the latest Bracketology. The Cardinals have a lot to play for. Senior day for the Pack, and last home game of Kevin Keatts’ first season. Expecting a good crowd for this one. Line is NC State -1.5.

8:15 PM #9 UNC @ #5 Duke

Needs: Duke win. Ugh, with a pile of ugghh on top. Hate that a rooting interest is necessary in this game. Duke needs to beat and overranked UNC team. I guess at least State doesn’t need UNC to win, so if anything we aren’t really rooting for Duke, so much as rooting for UNC to lose. This is in line with usual scenarios, so it’s acceptable. Line for the game is Duke -7.

If all does not go according to plan, the Wolfpack can vary between the 5 and 8 seed. Use the comments here to track the day’s progress. If everything goes right then the Pack get the 4 seed. Let’s roll these dice and hope to avoid the darkest timeline!


With Miami and Syracuse winning, here are the remaining ACC tourney scenarios.

  • (Best case) State wins, UNC loses: 2 - 7 seeding would be: 2. Duke, 3. Miami, 4. Clemson, 5. NC State, 6. UNC, 7. VT
  • State wins, UNC wins: 2. UNC, 3. Duke, 4. Clemson, 5. Miami, 6. NC State, 7. VT
  • State loses, UNC loses: 2. Duke, 3. Clemson, 4. Miami, 5. UNC, 6. Louisville, 7. VT, 8. NC State
  • State loses, UNC wins: 2. UNC, 3. Duke, 4. Clemson, 5. Miami, 6. Louisville, 7. VT, 8. NC State