The core four of Seton Hall Pirates seniors have reached their third consecutive NCAA Tournament, but are still in search of delivering the program their first win in March Madness since 2004.
Heading into the season, that seemed as an afterthought. However, after a roller coaster season that included the high of beating Texas Tech and Louisville and the lows of falling to Rutgers and getting swept by Marquette, a win on Thursday is no sure thing.
Especially after seeing the draw for the Pirates, a matchup in the 8/9 game against the N.C. State Wolfpack out of the ACC. The winner will likely have a date with the Kansas Jayhawks in the Round of 32.
If you haven’t been paying close attention to N.C. State this season, have no fear. Here’s an overview of how the Wolfpack has fared this season.
The Wolfpack are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, when they would make the Sweet 16 as an eight-seed. They knocked off the Villanova Wildcats in the Round of 32 on the way towards getting to Syracuse for the East Regional Semis.
After a 10-3 record during their non-conference slate, they opened up ACC play with back-to-back losses, including a puzzling 30-point road loss to a Bonzie Colson-less Notre Dame team.
N.C. State had issues getting in any rhythm all season, which is to be expected when playing in a conference like the ACC. They were able to take down some of the giants of the conference (UNC, Duke, Clemson), however they had their fair share of struggles against the bottom dwellers of the ACC. Both games against Wake Forest were decided by single digits, and they only were able to beat Pittsburgh, who went winless in ACC play, by four points.
This team has the ability to score in bunches, and they primarily win their games by dominating on the offensive end. In their 21 wins this season, they eclipsed the 80-point plateau in 14 of them, and scored over 90 points in nine of those wins. In their five wins over NCAA Tournament teams this season, they scored an average of 90.2 PPG in those victories.
While their offense is strong, their defense is not as much. They allow 73.9 PPG to opponents this season, which was third-worst in the ACC, while allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the floor. If NC State is going to win, they typically do it in a shootout.
Seton Hall and NC State will hit the floor at Intrust Arena in Wichita, Kansas at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.