A few weeks ago, we were wondering if NC State could make a run at a hosting spot. Instead, the Wolfpack decided to throw their entire NCAA tournament future up into the air by finishing 3-6 in league play. God bless ‘em, they decided to up the drama to end the season.
Hey, I got nothing else going on at this point, so I don’t mind it ... but at the same time, I feel this was unnecessary. Anyway! Good news. They wrote the setback portion of the season with a redemptive arc to end it. That’s just good television right there.
NC State should be safely off the bubble and in the NCAA tournament field after beating Wake Forest and Miami over the last two days—wins that pushed the Pack into the ACC tournament semifinals. The Deacs and Canes both are top-15 RPI teams, and Miami is almost certainly a top-8 seed. So those two wins meant a lot.
In the latest NCAA projections, Baseball America has NC State going to Maryland as a three-seed and well ahead of the at-large cut-off. D1Baseball has State as the three at USM, and that’s a slightly more optimistic projection. Still safely in, no doubt.
This is important because a bid thief has emerged within the ACC—that’s Pittsburgh, NC State’s semifinal opponent on Saturday. Already the league had created a press at the back-end of the at-large discussion, what with 10 possible tournament teams. Would the selection committee go that far? Would it give the ACC that much credit? Ten NCAA teams is a lot. Pitt winning the ACC tourney would nix one ACC at-large for sure. And now that’s almost certainly Clemson.
It was important to win a couple of games to avoid being Clemson. NC State did that. The Pack bumped its RPI back into the top 35, reset the discussion on its NCAA worthiness (“they’re slumping” vs. “they’re peaking plus they have Tommy Tanks!”), and now this team is a win away from playing for the ACC tournament title.
It’s been quite a week. [nervous laughter] Baseball is fun.