As NC State gets ready to start a three-game set in South Bend today, the Wolfpack’s NCAA tournament future is very much up in the air, and it ain’t exactly a lock for the conference tournament right now, either.
In the latest NCAA projections from D1Baseball, NC State is one of the last five teams in the field of 64—a little too close for comfort, since as we saw last year, the selection committee is comfortable making up criteria on the spot to justify omitting a bubble team. Not that I’m still upset about that, mind you.
State’s RPI is fine, thanks to the strength of the ACC, and the Pack has made the most of its underwhelming non-conference schedule by picking up wins against Coastal Carolina and ECU.
But that won’t matter if NC State can’t finish strong to close out conference play. These next two series—against the Irish and then UNC—are against teams in the projected NCAA field, and both are on the road. NC State really needs to do better than 3-3 over this stretch, which is doable but no easy task. Breaking even we could probably live with, though it’d put a lot of pressure on that season-ending home series against Pitt.
Anything worse than 3-3 obviously digs this 8-12 team further under .500 and definitely puts its conference tournament status in big trouble. The bottom two schools in the standings (regardless of division) don’t make the ACC tourney, and there’s a logjam for that 12th spot. And NC State can forget about the NCAAs if it doesn’t make the ACC tourney.