The cancellation of N.C. State’s men’s basketball game against No. 22 Virginia Tech on Saturday takes away one last chance for a resurgent team to work on a postseason resume.
State has won four games in a row going into its matchup at Notre Dame on Wednesday night. The Wolfpack is No. 76 in the NCAA NET rankings, which probably doesn’t even place it on the bubble for NCAA Tournament discussion and perhaps not even for a reduced-field, 16-team National Invitation Tournament.
State, 12-9 overall, does own a victory at No. 21 Virginia, the sport’s most recent national champion. The Pack split with North Carolina, which appears to be in decent shape for at-large consideration; it lost an overtime game at Clemson, which seems likely to make the tournament; and it didn’t get to play Louisville, Georgia Tech or now Virginia Tech, which are expected to be invited.
The Wolfpack also would’ve liked one more league win to try to avoid having to play in Tuesday’s opening round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro.
State assembled the most recent win streak despite missing its top player, Devon Daniels, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury in late January. In addition, shooting guard Thomas Allen was shut down this week.
Syracuse is the only league team that wasn’t scheduled to play this weekend, but the Wolfpack and the Orange have already met twice. It’s possible that juggling of the league schedule could free an opponent for State this weekend.
One thing is for certain: Finding a quality non-conference opponent on late notice is not only challenging, but a loss to a team not as strong as yours could make a difficult season even more difficult. Just ask Carolina about its recent, hastily arranged debacle against Marquette.
But rest easy, State Fan. Saturday is National Marquette Day and Senior Day, so a game against Xavier means the Golden Eagles will not be available.
Eddie Wooten is sports editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and the News & Record in Greensboro.