NCAA tournament team previews: North Carolina State Wolfpack
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. For more teams, click here.
Record: 21-13, 9-9 in Atlantic Coast Conference
Adjusted Offense/Adjusted Defense: 113.6 (28th)/103.4 (144)
Seed: No. 12 (First Four) in Midwest
Impact player: T.J. Warren, sophomore forward. 24.8 ppg, 7.2 reb, .525 fg, 1.7 stl
The Case For:
T.J. Warren is one of the most dynamic and explosive scorers in college basketball, ranking third in the nation in scoring average. As long as he stays out of foul trouble, he has the ability to take over games in ways maybe only a handful of other players at this level can. N.C. State's NCAA hopes were dead and buried after a loss to Miami on March 1, but a four-game winning streak -- including victories over Pitt and, at the ACC tournament, Syracuse -- was enough to push the Wolfpack into the field. They've got nothing to lose and everything to gain, and they might play like it. A win over Xavier in the First Four wouldn't be at all surprising. Could they take out St. Louis as well?
The Case Against:
N.C. State was the last team in the field for a reason. The Wolfpack were too one-dimensional and focused on Warren far too often this year. In fairness, head coach Mark Gottfried doesn't have a lot of other inspiring options. He has two point guards in Tyler Lewis and Anthony "Cat" Barber who can see the floor well but can't really create their own shot; a shooting guard in Ralston Turner who is reluctant to do anything but shoot and, at 36.7 percent from 3-point range, isn't especially good at it; and a couple of post players who are either raw (in the case of Kyle Washington and BeeJay Anya) or limited offensively (Jordan Vandenberg). This team is one of the youngest in the country, and it plays that way often.
SI Prediction: Beat Xavier, lose to St. Louis. View complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts