North Carolina State Wolfpack
Just like in previous seasons under Mark Gottfried, NC State has flashed the ability to compete with any team in the nation while also mixing in some head-scratching results. Whether that will result in a good enough profile for the Wolfpack to make the NCAA Tournament depends if it can notch a few more upsets in ACC play.
NC State currently sits at a solid 12-3 with an RPI of 26, which would almost certainly be good enough to warrant an at-large bid. Losses to No. 10 Creighton, Illinois and Miami don’t hurt the Wolfpack that much, although it would have hoped for a better showing than an 18-point blowout against the Hurricanes to open its ACC slate on New Year’s Eve.
The biggest problem for the Wolfpack was its lack of quality wins entering this week. NC State’s best non-conference victory was Saint Joseph’s, and it came close to suffering bad losses against teams like Boston University and Tennessee State.
That changed on Wednesday night, as the Wolfpack earned a dominant win over No. 21 Virginia Tech, which was coming off of an upset victory over Duke. While NC State will need a few more victories like that, they should be just on the right side of the bubble for now with a few more opportunities to grab more signature wins.
The Wolfpack has the talent to get an at-large berth, with sensational freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. leading the way. Still, the ACC is a gauntlet this season, and the Wolfpack will probably need a few more upsets to avoid being on the bubble come Selection Sunday.