Bubble Watch: NC State gets one step closer to the NCAA Tournament with win over Pitt

Greensboro — Firmly on the NCAA bubble for the second straight season, NC State (20-12) entered Wednesday of the ACC Tournament with a tremendous opportunity at hand. In a very fluid situation, the Wolfpack landed in the Last Four In of Joe Lunardi’s bracket. At No. 54 in the NCAA’s NET rating — with a 4-5 record in quadrant 1 games — a win over Pittsburgh wouldn’t necessarily boost NC State’s resume. However, a loss would create another blemish on an imperfect record. (The Panthers checked in at No. 107 in the NET at the start of the day.)

Well, the Pack took care of business with a 73-58 win. The victory could, potentially, seal the deal for a second NCAA Tournament bid under Kevin Keatts.

After carrying a three-point lead into halftime, NC State continued to sizzle on offense; while Devon Daniels led the way with 23 points (9-of-14 FGA), Markell Johnson’s passing and decision-making proved key as the catalyst. Johnson slithered his way to 11 assists — the 16th time in his career he’s posted 10+ assists in a game.

Later tonight in the Pac-12 Tournament, Cal and Stanford play with a 9 p.m. (est) tip-off. Nebraska and Indian get things going a little before then: 8:30 p.m.

NC State advances to play Duke on Thursday (2:30 p.m.) in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. All of this speculation could go out the window for the Wolfpack if they are able to upset the Blue Devils for a second time this season.


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