Pack is open to playing in the NIT if the call comes


NC State finally snapped its seven-game losing streak by winning at Georgia Tech on Tuesday evening. That put the Pack at 15-14 overall and one step closer to avoiding a second straight losing season.

The next few games appear favorable for NC State. Reeling Virginia comes into town Saturday afternoon just after the Pack has put together three straight spirited halves of basketball, beginning when it rallied from over 20 down in a loss to Notre Dame and carrying over to Georgia Tech.

Then the regular season ends at Clemson. The Tigers, like NCSU, are likely destined for the first day of the ACC Tournament. NC State also has a rarity in its schedule: Its final regular-season game is a midweek contest, meaning the Pack will have the final weekend off while the rest of the ACC is playing and can use it to get a head start on preparing for the ACC Tournament.

The first game in Brooklyn will be against another one of the ACC’s six worst teams and conceivably a winnable contest. Could NC State string together a little winning streak to send out head coach Mark Gottfried on a positive note?

If it does, then an NIT berth becomes a real possibility. After the loss to Notre Dame, Gottfried was emphatic that the Pack would play if invited. Since then, athletic officials have backed up Gottfried’s assertion.

NC State, though, must first handle business on the court.