March 15, 2012
Columbus, Ohio -
Making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006, NC State will square off with San Diego State in second-round action on Friday from Columbus, Ohio's Nationwide Arena.
This is the first-ever meeting between the Wolfpack and Aztecs with NC State playing as a No. 11 seed and San Diego State competing as a No. 6 seed.
Friday's game can be seen on truTV with Tim Brando and Mike Gminski calling the action.
The game can also be heard on the NC State Radio Network with Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes at the mic. A national radio broadcast of the contest can be heard on Westwood One with Wayne Larrivee and John Thompson providing a description of the action.
Pack Returns to NCAA Tournament: With a little bit of drama over the last few weeks of the season, not to mention being the last team shown on CBS's Selection Show, NC State will be making its 23rd NCAA appearance.
The Pack was chosen as the 11th seed in the East Region, and will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to face sixth-seeded San Diego State on Friday. Game time is 12:40 p.m. on truTV.
The Pack is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season, when NC State made a school record five straight appearances (2002-06). NC State is currently 32-21 in the NCAA Tournament, and is one of just 17 schools to have won multiple titles (1974 and 1983).
Pack as the 11th Seed: NC State will enter the NCAA Tournament as the 11th seed for the second time in school history. The Pack previously was seeded 11th in the East Region in 1987. The Pack traveled to Syracuse, and fell to sixth-seed Florida, 82-70.
Pack versus the Sixth Seed: NC State will be looking to capture its first win in the NCAA Tournament against the sixth seed, as the Pack is currently 0-3 in such contests.
The Pack previously fell to sixth-seed Florida in the 1987 tournament in the first round.
NC State also fell to Vanderbilt in the second round in 2004, 75-73, and to Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 in 2005, 65-56, when both teams were the sixth seeds.
Pack in First Round (Now Second Round) Action: Technically the Pack's first game in the 2012 NCAA Tournament will be in the second round, but in the Pack's previous trips to the Big Dance, NC State has found success in first round action. NC State enters 11-5 in what was formerly the first round, now the second round.
In fact, the Pack has failed to win a NCAA Tournament game only once in its last seven trips. During NC State's recent school record of five consecutive trips (2002-06), the Pack failed to advance out of the first round only once, in 2003 in overtime to California.
First-Year Feat: NC State's Mark Gottfried is just one of seven coaches in the 68-team NCAA field to take his squad to the tournament in his first season. Gottfried and Missouri's Frank Haith are the only two to accomplish this feat at a BCS school.
Gottfried becomes only the third coach in school history to lead his first team to the NCAA Tournament. Only Press Maravich (1965) and Les Robinson (1991) have accomplished that feat before this season.
In Gottfried's two previous coaching stops, he took Murray State to the NCAA Tournament in his second season and Alabama in his fourth year.
NC State Staff Knows The NCAA Tournament: All three NC State assistant coaches have NCAA Tournament experience.
Bobby Lutz started his NCAA postseason experience with back-to-back NCAA appearances as an assistant coach at Charlotte in 1997 and 1998. Lutz was then promoted to head coach for the 49ers, and lead them to five NCAA appearances in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Orlando Early was an assistant coach at three different schools that made a combined seven NCAA Tournaments. Early's first NCAA postseason experience came when he was an assistant coach for Western Carolina's 1996 squad that won the Southern Conference. His next postseason experience came as an assistant coach at Charlotte under Lutz in 1999 and 2001. Then Early joined Mark Gottfried's staff at Alabama in 2001 and was an assistant coach for four seasons, reaching the NCAA Tournament in all four years.
Rob Moxley's NCAA postseason experience came as an assistant coach for Charlotte under Lutz, where the 49ers made five NCAA postseason tournament appearances in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005.
Underdog Mentality: NC State will be entering as a lower seed in the San Diego State game for the 18th time in school history. The Pack is currently 8-9 all-time when coming in as a lower seed, but 3-2 over its last two trips (2005 2-1, 2006 1-1).
With a difference of five spots (San Diego State as a No. 6 and NC State as a No. 11), the Pack is 3-4 when the margin between the two squads is five or more in its NCAA Tournament history.
Pack Soars at ACC Tournament: NC State entered the 2012 ACC Tournament knowing that it had to improve its resume to be selected to the NCAA Tournament. The Pack took advantage of the opportunity, and thanks to its run to the ACC semifinals, earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years.
Entering as the fifth seed, the Pack took out 12th seeded Boston College in the first round, 78-57. Scood Wood scored a game-high 22 points on 5-of-9 from three-point range.
The Pack then got revenge for a one-point regular season loss to fourth seed Virginia, downing the Cavs, 67-64, in the quarterfinals. C.J. Leslie had his second straight double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Lorenzo Brown finished with 15 points and eight assists.
NC State came up just short against the top-seeded Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament semifinals, 69-67. UNC's Kendall Marshall banked in the winning shot with 10.6 seconds left, as Leslie went for 22 points, despite fouling out with 8:03 left, and Brown had 16.
In the loss to the Terps, Brown was 3-of-13 from the field, and had just 8 points in 28 minutes. Leslie was 2-of-9 from the field, and scored just 5 points in 19 minutes, although he did pull down 11 rebounds.
This season was much different, as the Pack's sophomore duo pushed the Pack to wins over Boston College and then Virginia before the Pack fell in the semifinals to North Carolina 69-67.
Leslie posted team-best averages of 17.3 points and 10.7 rebounds and shot 69.7 percent (23-33) from the field. He finished with double-doubles in the wins over Boston College (11-11) and Virginia (19-14), and had 22 points in the loss to the Tar Heels despite fouling out with 8:03 left.
Brown was the conductor of the Pack's offense, as he averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 assists. Brown also shot the ball well in the Pack's three games, hitting 55.6 percent (15-27) from the field and 60.0 percent (3-5) from long range.
The two went from averaging 6.5 points and shooting just 22.7 percent (5-22) from the field last year, to averaging 31.7 points a game and shooting 63.3 percent (38-60) at this year's tournament.
For their efforts, Leslie was named first-team All-ACC Tournament while Brown was second-team.