College Basketball

NC State looks for Sweet 16 win

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried celebrates with guard Cat Barber after N.C. State’s 71-68 upset victory against No. 1 seed Villanova in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried celebrates with guard Cat Barber after N.C. State’s 71-68 upset victory against No. 1 seed Villanova in the third round of the NCAA tournament. ehyman@newsobserver.com

It has been a while since N.C. State won a Sweet 16 game. Coach Mark Gottfried was a junior at Alabama the last time N.C. State did.

The Wolfpack, which faces Louisville on Friday in the East Region semifinals, hasn’t won a Sweet 16 game since 1986. Jim Valvano’s team beat Iowa State 75-67 that year. The year before, Valvano’s team beat Alabama, when Gottfried, now 51, was a sophomore for the Crimson Tide.

The Wolfpack has lost its past three trips to the Sweet 16, dropping a 60-57 decision to Kansas in Gottfried’s first season as coach in 2012.

In 1983, N.C. State was the first team to win six games to win the national title. The bracket didn’t expand to 64 teams until 1985 but the concept of a “Sweet 16” or winning two games to get to the regional semifinals is a relatively new one.

N.C. State has split its six games in the Sweet 16.

There were 25 teams in the field when N.C. State won the national title in 1974. For N.C. State’s third “Final Four” team, in 1950, eight teams were in the field.

Also, N.C. State’s game with Louisville, in its first year in the ACC, is just the fourth between ACC teams in the NCAA tournament. The Wolfpack beat Virginia in Elite Eight in 1983, the Wahoos lost to UNC in the 1981 Final Four and Duke beat Maryland (now in the Big Ten) in the 2001 Final Four.

ACC vs. ACC in the NCAA tournament

There have been three games between ACC teams in the NCAA tournament, the Triangle team has won the first three:

1981: UNC 78, Virginia 65 (Final Four)

1983: N.C. State 63, Virginia 62 (Elite Eight)

2001: Duke 95, Maryland 84 (Final Four)

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