While the NC State men's basketball team has no shot at the NCAAs this year, Wes Moore's Wolfpack Women are in solid shape to reach the tournament for the second time during his tenure. ESPN's Charlie Creme, the slightly less-well-known bracketologist at the Worldwide Leader, projects the Wolfpack Women as a No. 9 seed.
State finished the season 20-11 (10-6), which was good enough for a fifth-place tie in the ACC. The Pack is 49th in the RPI, and that should be enough to get it into the tournament, as Creme projects. But they could still be sweating a bit on Monday, when the tournament field is announced.
The selling point for NC State is that it basically has handled all of the teams it was supposed to beat. Eight of its 11 losses came against RPI top-50 teams. Only one of its losses came to a team outside the RPI top-100. And that's a good thing, too, because on the flip side, the Pack has only one top-50 win. (On the road at Duke.)
That's not the most ideal resume--RealTimeRPI.com actually has NCSU missing the tournament--and if not for a few close misses against quality teams, the picture might be a lot different. The Pack lost one-possession games to Louisville, FSU, and Syracuse, all three of which rank in the RPI top 15. The Pack also lost a one-possession game to Seton Hall early on, and the Pirates are in the top 40.
Splitting those games would have been an immense help. (And they really really blew that Louisville game.) As it is, they'll have to hope that a top-50 strength of schedule, 20 wins, and a top-half finish in the ACC will be enough to convince committee members that they're worthy.