Top 10 of the 2010s: No. 3, Leaving Villanova in Tears
As we come down the homestretch of the final 10 days of the 2010s, SI Wolfpack Maven takes a look back at the past 10 years in NC State sports and counts down the Wolfpack's top 10 moments of the decade.
Today is Dec. 29, 2019.
With three days remaining, it's time to check in on Moment No. 3: The Wolfpack's upset of top-seeded Villanova in the 2015 NCAA tournament.
The image has become one of the most iconic memes on the internet: A young coed, disappointed by her top-seeded team's early exit from the NCAA tournament, playing her piccolo while tears stream down her face.
What most people outside of the Wolfpack Nation may have forgotten is that it was NC State that made the Villanova band member cry.
The eighth-seeded Wolfpack produced the high point of the Mark Gottfried era with a 71-68 upset of the Wildcats, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA's East Region, on March 21, 2015 in Pittsburgh. The victory sent State to the Sweet 16 while handing Villanova only its third loss of the season.
It was the Wolfpack's first win against a No. 1 seed since its national championship victory against Houston in 1983. After it was over, point guard Cat Barber hugged teammate Des Lee, pounded his chest and yelled "All heart!"
While a lot of heart went into the victory, State's dominance in the paint and on the boards also played a role in the emotional victory. The Wolfpack made only three 3-pointers in the game, but held Villanova to just 25.9 percent shooting in the paint and outrebounded the Wildcats 44-32 with big men Lennard Freeman and Abdul-Malik Abu each pulling down 12 rebounds apiece.
Offensively, Trevor Lacey led a balanced attack with 17 points while Barber and Abu added 13 each and Freeman scored 11. After leading most of the way, by as much as nine in the second half, State held on for the victory when Ralston Turner hit a pair of free throws with one second remaining.
Although State lost in the next round, to Louisville on a night in which Barber was weakened by the stomach flu, the victory against Villanova -- and BeeJay Anya's buzzer-beating basket that preceded it to earn a first-round victory against LSU -- stands as one of the most memorable moments of the 2010s.
Top 10 NC State Sports Moments of he 2010s
No. 3 Basketball upset of top-seeded Villanova in 2015 NCAA tournament
Don't forget to check back on Sunday for moment No. 2