All Four State Players into Sweet 16 of ACC's "Best of" Bracket
Congratuations, Wolfpack Nation.
Your support of former NC State stars David Thompson, Rodney Monroe, Julius Hodge and T.J. Warren has sent all four into the Sweet 16 round of the ACC's "Best Player of the Last 50 Years" bracket.
If only Wolfpack basketball teams could have that kind of postseason success on the court.
Backed by the voting support of State fans, two of the four players pulled off major "upsets" in the competition that is little more than a popularity contest designed to help fill the void left by the cancellation of the NCAA tournament.
The best example of the subjective nation of the bracket comes in the Charlotte Region, where eighth-seeded T.J. Warren upset No. 1 seed Ralph Sampson of Virginia -- fittingly, on the anniversary of the Wolfpack's win against Sampson and the Cavaliers in the 1983 NCAA West Region final.
No one can make a legitimate argument that Warren was a better college player than the 7-foot-4 Sampson, a three-time National Player of the Year. But in the voting for this contest, he lost out to the ACC's top player in 2014 by a margin of 50.2%-49.8%.
Warren will now face Boston College's Jared Dudley, the 2007 ACC Player of the Year, in the next round. The fifth-seeded Dudley knocked off No. 4 Horace Grant of Clemson 56.5%-43.5%.
In the Greensboro Region, the seventh-seeded Hodge eliminated second seed J.J. Redick of Duke, a two-time ACC Player of the Year who finished his college career as the conference's all-time scoring leader.
Hodge, the 2004 ACC Player of the Year, got 53.8% of the vote and will now face Louisville's Dr. of Dunk Darrell Griffith, the No. 3 seed, who outpolled a woefully underseeded Phil Ford of North Carolina by a comfortable 60.5%-39.5% margin.
Seedings held in the Brooklyn Region, where Wolfpack national champion and top-seeded David "Skywalker" Thompson routed Louisville's Pervis Ellison by getting 70.2% of the votes. The only State player to have his number retired will now face a much more difficult test in the Sweet 16 against UNC's "Big Game" James Worthy.
Worthy, the No. 4 seed, advanced by taking down another all-time ACC great (who actually played in the ACC), Wake Forest's Randolph Childress in the Round of 32.
Finally in the Washington DC region, the fifth-seeded Monroe rallied from an early deficit in the balloting to beat Louisville's Donovan Mitchell 53.8%-46.2%. The sharpshooting guard will now take on top-seeded Christian Laettner of Duke, who was a surprisingly easy 66.1%-33.9% margin against Georgia Tech's Mark Price.