NC State's win over Clemson got the Wolfpack one step closer to securing an at-large NCAA tournament bid, and it could be that the Pack need only beat Syracuse to lock in a berth. NC State jumped back into the RPI top 50 on Wednesday.
The victory over Clemson was NC State's fifth win in a true road game, which is another nice selling point for the Pack come selection Sunday. State might be erratic at times, but the guys have still managed to cover the bases really well--the road wins, the schedule strength, multiple wins against top 25 teams, plus victories over Louisiana Tech and Boise State in the non-conference. That Boise win in particular is lookin' great these days.
That's a compelling overall case for a bid, and there's part of me that thinks State could close out the season 0-2 and still sneak in, but I admit that's on the optimistic side. Team Rankings gives an 18-win State team a 29.7% chance of making the field.
But TR expects NC State to finish 19-12 and so they have the Pack's current tournament odds at nearly 85%. I recommend we go the 19+ win route, as there is really no need to test my theory about an 18-win NC State team. I have ridden this roller coaster enough times to say with confidence that it is in fine working order, so one more ride around would only be a waste of time.
Elsewhere in the world of tournament guessery, Patrick Stevens moved NC State up to a 10-seed after the Clemson win. (He also gave State a horrifying draw.) Joe Lunardi has State as a nine. (With a wonderful draw, please let's do that one.) Jerry Palm is giving the Pack a 10-seed.
NC State's average seed across all of the projections tracked by Bracket Matrix is a 10.