Currently, Charlie Creme has State as a number 4 seed in the bracket with number one seed Mississippi State. I do not give Charlie Creme's projections much weight. They are just projections after all. He had State in two years ago and State did not get an invite.
After State beat Duke yesterday, State's rpi via warrennolan.com was 14; however, overnight it had risen to 17. While I think that State with the win over Duke should get to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament (yes, the games will be played in Reynolds), my opinion is biased and I have no say. The ACC is the number 1 conference in the nation, so a team finishing 4th should get to host. Duke, who finished tied with State for 4th, is most likely still in the running with State to be a final host.
Looking at State's record, and again at warrennolan, State is 4-7 against top 50 teams and does not have a loss to a team above 50. Duke is 5-7 against top 50 teams, but Duke does have a bad loss-that loss being to 118 North Carolina. Duke's best win is against number 6 Ohio State, while State's best win is against number 7 Florida State. Duke's current rpi is 18, just one behind State.
If State beats Louisville, that number 4 seed will be secured and State will host. If not, then State is at the whim of the committee and for the last two years the committee has not favored State. In 2016 State finished 10-6 in conference and had an rpi in the mid to upper 40's but did not get an invite. The final bid went to Purdue who also had a 10-6 conference record in the Big Ten; however, the team's rpi was 65. Last year, State finished fourth in the conference with a 12-4 record, but for hosting purposes, the committee overlooked State for the team which finished 7th in the conference, Miami. This despite State beating during the regular season every school finishing above it in the standings.
So comes the ACC Tournament semi-final game against Louisville. Over the last four games, Louisville is 3-1 against State, but all three have been close, even the game earlier this season when Louisville led 26-1 midway through the second quarter. State pulled to within four with just over three minutes left. In 2016 Louisville trailed much of the game, by a lot sometimes, but managed to win in the last minute after DD Rogers fouled a Louisville player with the game tied. Last season State won in Louisville when Miah Spencer made a buzzer beater basket. In the ACC tournament last year, Miah had a similar shot for the win but after bouncing around on the rim it rolled off. If the game today is to be close, State must shoot better than it did against Duke.
State came out shooting well and behind Nelson took a 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. Chelsea had 7 of State's first 11 points. Akela Maize got two put backs, Kiara Leslie had two drives to the basket and Aislinn Konig hit a three to round out State's scoring.
State's shooting fell off near the end of the first half allowing Louisville to take a 32-31 lead into the half. State shot 41% from the floor in the first half to Louisville's 56%. State did have 15 rebounds to Louisville's 11 and had shot 5 free throws to Louisville's 2. State normally wins with rebounding, free throw shooting and defense. In the first half, defense was missing.
A note here. I really hate when ESPN does a game because the announcers have so many other things to talk about other than the game itself.
State came close to losing it in the third quarter allowing Louisville to open a 10 point lead at one point. State clamped down on defense and closed to within 3 at the end of the quarter- 47 to 44 Louisville.
State had opportunities but just couldn't get it done in the fourth quarter. Aislinn missed back to back open threes and Kaila Ealey missed two free throws. All of these points would have given State an opportunity.
Still, a good showing. Hard to play three games in a row. Hats off to Kiara Leslie who guarded Lexie Brown and Asia Durr in back to back games and shut both of them down. Durr was 3-8 from the floor and scored 9 points.
Louisville shot 52% from the floor to State's 38%. State did win the rebounding 34 to 24. State also shot 15 free throws to Louisville's 10. For State Nelson had 20 points on 7-13 from the floor. Akela Maize also had a very good game scoring 14 on 6-8 from the floor. Fuehring led Louisville in scoring with 15, 3-4 from the arc.
Pundits think State will get to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. We hope so.