March 21, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
For the first time since 2005, and only the second time since 1989, NC State returns to the Sweet 16. The 11th seeded Wolfpack knocked off sixth seed San Diego State (79-65), and then third seed Georgetown (66-63), in Columbus to punch its ticket to St. Louis.
The Pack will face second seed Kansas on Friday at 10:20 p.m. eastern time. The winner will then face the winner of North Carolina and Ohio on Sunday.
TOURNAMENT IS SWEET FOR NC STATE: NC State is making its first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2005, and its fifth showing since the NCAA field was expanded to 64 teams.
The Wolfpack posts an all-time mark of 4-4 in the Regional semifinals and finals, but has won just one regional title since the expansion (1983).
PACK AS THE 11th SEED: NC State earned its first-ever victories as the 11th seed in the NCAA Tournament, with wins over San Diego State and Georgetown in Columbus. The Pack now stands 2-1 when seeded 11th.
This season marks the second time in school history the Pack has been seeded 11th. The other occasion was in 1987 in the East Region. NC State traveled to Syracuse, and fell to sixth-seed Florida, 82-70, in the first round.
PACK VERSUS THE 2nd SEED: NC State will be facing a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in school history, with all three previous times coming since 2002. The Pack enters the Kansas contest 1-2 all-time against a No. 2 seed.
The Pack’s two previous trips to the NCAA Tournament each featured a contest against a No. 2 seed. NC State was eliminated in the second round in 2006 by No. 2 seed Texas in Dallas, 75-54. In 2005, the Pack advanced past No. 2 seed Connecticut and into the Sweet 16, 65-62.
The Pack’s first attempt at a No. 2 seed was in the 2002 second round, when NC State was eliminated by Connecticut, 77-74.
UNDERDOG MENTALITY: Playing as the underdog in the NCAA Tournament does not seem to faze NC State, as the Pack has already won a pair of games as the 11th seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. With wins over San Diego State (6th seed) and Georgetown (3rd) NC State improves to 9-9 all-time when coming in as a lower seed, including a 5-2 mark over its last three tournament trips.
With a difference of nine spots (Kansas as a No. 2 and NC State as a No. 11), the Pack is 1-1 when the margin between the two squads is nine or more in its NCAA Tournament history. The Pack downed Connecticut in the 2005 second round (UConn as a No. 2, NCSU as a No. 10), and then fell to Texas in the 2006 second round (Texas as a No. 2, NCSU as a No. 10).
GOTTFRIED BECOMES SECOND ACC COACH TO WIN FIRST TWO GAMES IN FIRST SEASON: Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried became only the second head coach in the history of the ACC to guide his first team to a pair of NCAA Tournament wins. Bill Guthridge did so as well, guiding UNC to the Final Four in 1998.
FIRST-YEAR FEAT: When the 2012 NCAA Tournament started, Gottfried was just one of seven coaches in the 68-team NCAA field to take his squad to the tournament in his first season. Now that there are 16 teams left, Gottfried is the only rookie head coach still in the field.
In the NC State record books, 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) 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 led 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.
VERSUS KANSAS: NC State and Kansas will be meeting for the 12th time in the history of the two programs. The Jayhawks have posted a 10-1 mark in the overall series, including a 3-0 edge in neutral site games.
The last time the two teams met was during the 1996-97 season, when No. 1 Kansas won in Lawrence, 84-56.
VERSUS KANSAS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT: Friday’s game is the second time NC State will face Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. In the 1986 Elite Eight, the top-seeded Jayhawks downed the Wolfpack, 75-67, Kansas City.
In that game, current Jayhawks assistant coach Danny Manning scored a game-high 22 points, and Kansas shot 57.7 percent (30-52) from the field. Charles Shackleford (20) and Chris Washburn (17) led the way for NC State.
PACK VERSUS BIG 12: NC State is currently 12-19 against teams that are currently in the Big 12. The Pack posts at least a .500 record against six of the league’s 10 schools.
ATHLETIC EXCELLENCE: NC State is one of six schools nationally, and the only ACC school, to have its men’s basketball team reach the Sweet 16 and for its football team to win its 2011 bowl game. Baylor, Cincinnati, Florida, Michigan State and Ohio are the other schools.
A total of 10 schools sent a team to a bowl and the Sweet 16 this season.
Entering the 2012 NCAA Tournament, NC State was one of 27 schools nationally (one of four in the ACC) that sent its football team to a bowl game and its men’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament.
PACK COACHES SUCCESSFUL IN NCAA TOURNAMENT: NC State has had six previous coaches lead the Pack into the NCAA Tournament, and every one of the six posted at least a .500 record in tournament play during their NCSU careers. Overall, NC State is 34-21 in NCAA Tournament play, a 61.8 percent winning percentage.
Everett Case was 6-6 in his career in NCAA Tournament games, while Press Maravich was 1-1, Norm Sloan was 5-2, Jim Valvano was 14-6, Les Robinson was 1-1 and Herb Sendek was 5-5. Mark Gottfried has started his NCSU career with a 2-0 mark in tournament play.
NC State is one of only six schools to have every coach in its history have at least a .500 record in NCAA play, given a minimum of four coaches. The others who have done it are Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma and Syracuse. In fact, only Michigan with seven coaches, eclipses the Pack’s six coaches that have done so.
Pack setting top mark for wins: Mark Gottfried is the first NC State coach to win 24 games in a season since Jim Valvano did so in 1987-88 (24-8). If the Pack were to defeat Kansas, NC State would post its most wins since winning the 1983 national championship (26-10).
BIG IMPROVEMENT: Going into the Sweet 16, NC State has already improved its win total by nine games. Last season, the Pack finished at 15-16, and this season NC State posts a 24-12 mark.
The season marks NC State’s biggest turnaround since the 2001-02 squad improved 10 games from 2000-01 (13-16).
BEEFING UP THE SCHEDULE: One of the first things head coach Mark Gottfried did when he accepted the NC State coaching job, was go out and improve the schedule. With the support of the NC State administration to drop and add games after contracts were already signed, Gottfried and his staff put together one of the top schedules nationally which played into the Pack’s NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
Going into the NCAA Tournament, NC State strength of schedule is 26th nationally according to CollegeRPI.com. Even more impressive, the Pack’s non-conference SOS is 21st, and the sixth-best among BCS schools.
The Pack played 12 games against 10 teams that were in the 2012 NCAA field.
PACK SUCCESSFUL IN RECENT TOURNAMENTS: Over the last four seasons, since C.J. Williams’ freshman year in 2008-09, NC State posts a record of 18-7 in both in-season and postseason tournaments.
Over the last four years in the postseason, the Pack is 4-4 in ACC Tournament play, 2-0 in NCAA Tournament action, and 1-1 in the NIT.
NC State has had even more success in playing a tournament during the regular season, sporting a record of 11-2 over the last four seasons, including 4-1 this season in the Legends Classic.
FROM WRONG TO RIGHT: In mid-February, NC State had the opportunity to get some all-important quality wins to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume. The Pack faced No. 5 Duke, No. 20 Florida State, No. 7 North Carolina, and went to Clemson. But the Pack lost all four, its longest losing streak of the season.
Times have changed, as the Pack has won six of its last seven games and has advanced to the Sweet 16.
NC State closed the regular season with a pair of wins and then advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals. That stretch of four straight wins over ACC foes was the most since the 2005-06 season (4).
DEFENSE TIGHTENS UP: Part of NC State’s resurgence at the end of the season has been its defense. Over the last six games, the Pack has held every opponent under 70 points and has given up just 62.7 points a game in winning six of them.
Over the last six games, the Pack has held opponents to 40.2 percent (135-336) from the floor, and just 28.5 percent (35-123) from three-point range. NC State has also forced 12.2 turnovers per game and 6.2 steals during that span.
On the season, NC State is 17-2 when holding its opponents under 70 points this season.
FAST PACED: The biggest draw for the returning NC State players with the hire of Mark Gottfried was his commitment to let the Pack get up and down the floor. The Pack has taken advantage of Gottfried’s system, as NC State outscores its opponents by 8.2 fast break points per game.
On the season, NC State has a 527-230 (14.6-6.4) advantage in fast break points. The Pack has posted more fast break points in 29 of the 36 games this season.
But it’s not just the Pack scoring fast break points, it is also the Pack getting back on defense and not allowing them. In the 36 games this season, opponents have been held to single digits in fast break points 29 times (compared to only seven for NC State), and the Pack has even held three teams to zero in a contest this year.
PACK’S TRIPLE THREAT: Do-it-all point guard Lorenzo Brown has enjoyed his first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In the Pack’s two wins, Brown averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists in 39.0 minutes. In the win over San Diego State, Brown neared a triple double with 17 points, 9 boards and 8 assists while playing the whole 40 minutes. Against Georgetown, Brown dished 7 assists to just one turnover and hit 5-of-7 free throws in the final 1:11.
A HOWELL-ING GOOD TIME: Normally when junior Richard Howell has a big day it’s scrapping down low and pulling down rebounds, but in the Pack’s second round win over San Diego State, the junior provided the Pack its offensive spark.
Howell shot 10-of-12 from the floor and finished with 22 points, the second-highest total of his career. In the first half, Howell scored 15 of the Pack’s 33 points.
Howell has also increased his productivity from the free throw line, shooting 71.4 percent (10-14) over the last three games compared to 36.3 percent (12-33) the previous 8 outings..
LESLIE PICKS UP THE PACE: C.J. Leslie has picked up his play over the last 10 games, averaging 18.3 points and shooting 59.7 percent from the field. Leslie is one of just three players in the ACC to rank in the top-10 in points (ninth at 14.6) and rebounds (seventh at 7.4). He also ranks third in FG% (.529)
In his 31 games played this season, only three have not been double figures and he currently leads the Pack at 14.6 an outing.
FREE THROW TROUBLES: NC State entered its Feb. 21 game against North Carolina leading the ACC in free throw percentage at 73.9 percent.
Since that time, the Pack has struggled from the charity stripe hitting just 59.9 percent (118-197) over the last nine games. The Pack has been under 70.0 percent in all but one of those (77.8% at Virginia Tech).
PROVIDING ASSISTANCE: NC State is definitely one of the most generous teams in the ACC this season when it comes to sharing the ball. Although the Pack ranks second in the league in assists per game with 15.8 (UNC leads with 17.3), Mark Gottfried’s team leads the rest of the league by a large margin when it comes to number of assisted field goals made.
The Pack has an assist on 567 of its 958 made shots this season - in other words, .592 percent of the team’s shots have come off a pass.
On the season, Lorenzo Brown (231) and Alex Johnson (103) have led the way for the Pack. In fact, it is the first time since the 2006-07 season since a pair of teammates both went over 100, and only two other players have done so over the last four seasons (including Brown with a team-best 116 last season).
Brown currently ranks second in the conference with 6.4 assists per game, while Johnson, despite coming off the bench in all 36 games, is eighth at 2.9.
The Pack also ranks second in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). UNC leads the league at 1.5. Brown is third in the ACC at 2.0, while Johnson would rank fifth (1.8) if he had enough assists to qualify.
WOOD FROM THREE: When junior Scott Wood catches fire, the Pack’s offense is hard to defend. This season, the Pack is a perfect 10-0 when the junior hits at least four three-pointers in a game.
Wood currently leads the ACC in three-point shooting at 41.7 percent (93-223), and his 2.7 makes are second-best.
During the Pack’s current streak of six wins in the last seven games, Wood has shot 44.4 percent (20-45) from long range.
Wood has now made 228 three-pointers during his NC State career, which ranks second all-time in Wolfpack history (Rodney Monroe - 322). His 93 makes this season is also second-best in a single season, 11 away from Monroe’s all-time mark of 104 in 1991.
WOOD NETS 1,000th CAREER POINT: Scott Wood became the 45th player in school history to record 1,000 career points, as he did so with a three-pointer in the second half of the San Diego State win.
After hitting 4-of-5 from three-point range and finishing with 14 points in the win over Georgetown, Wood now posts 1,014 for his career.
MOVES TO MAKE: Even though the Pack plays only three players in the post - two are 6’8” and one is 6’9” - the Pack has been getting work done down low.
During the Pack’s run in the post season (2-1 in ACCT, 2-0 NCAAT) the Pack has outscored its opponents a combined 160-126 in points in the paint. In fact, the Pack has won or been even in the points in the paint battle the last nine games and in 14 of the 19 games against ACC foes this season.
The Pack has received production from its ‘bigs’ with C.J. Leslie averaging 16.2 points, Richard Howell 12.2 points and DeShawn Painter 6.2 points in the five postseason games.