NC State and the Bubble

The Wolfpack is on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament, despite several tough losses recently.  A weak bubble and a clutch victory over Miami have given State a late-season reprieve, and the Pack just might sneak in.  To get there, State's task is simple in theory, but may be tough to execute.  If State can beat Virginia Tech and get to the ACC semifinals, there is a good chance the Wolfpack gets a bid.  However, if some upsets around the country occur, State may need to make it to the ACC Final.

After the Miami win, ESPN's Joe Lunardi moved the Pack into the "First Four Out" category.  Dance Card views State more favorably, placing State at #46 of its projected 54 bids (the # of bids takes into account the fact that some automatic qualifiers would be in anyway, and some would not). 

Comparing State's profile to some teams projected to be in the tournament or rated above NC State as of today (numbers pulled from

State's resume compares favorably to these teams, with one glaring exception- the lack of Top 50 wins.  Miami and Texas are just outside the Top 50, so those two moving up some would give State a boost, but the Pack clearly has some work left to do to feel safe next Sunday.

State's profile also looks good compared to UVA and Miami, the ACC's other two fringe tourney teams.  UVA has the head to head advantage as well as a win over Michigan.  However, State's SOS, especially its non-conference SOS, is much better.  If Virginia is solidly in the field, it's tough to argue that State is too far out of it.  Miami has wins over Duke and Florida State, but only 3 total Top 100 wins, and of course the Pack beat the Canes twice.

At this point, State just needs to keep winning and hope the chips fall in its favor over the next few days.