Wolfpack's NCAA Tourney Hopes on the Rise

Brett Friedlander

Tuesday's win at Syracuse was a boost to NC State's NCAA tournament resume, bumping the Wolfpack up four spots from No. 60 to No. 56 in college basketball's latest NET rankings.

Coach Kevin Keatts' team also got help from opponents it has already played, specifically Wisconsin, thanks to their moves up the rankings.

But even though State is trending in the right direction again now that its recent three-game losing streak is a thing of the past, it still has work left to do to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble for the second straight year.

The NET (an acronym for NCAA Evaluation Tool) rankings are a metric the NCAA selection committee began using last year to help it fill out its 68-team tournament field. It takes into account game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin and net efficiency at both ends of the court.

The value of wins and losses are weighted by quadrants.

Quadrant 1 includes teams ranked in the top 30 for games played at home, the top 50 for neutral site games and the top 75 on the road. Quadrant 2 includes teams ranked from 31-75 at home, 51-100 at neutral sites and 76-135 on the road. Quadrant 3 includes teams ranked from 76-160 at home, 101-200 at neutral sites and 135-240 on the road while Quadrant 4 includes all other games.

State is currently 3-2 in Quad 1 games, with Tuesday's win at Syracuse joining previous road victories at Virginia and UNC Greensboro. 

It could potentially add another Quad 1 win without playing a game if Wisconsin -- which moved up to No. 32 after beating Ohio State last weekend -- can improve just two more spots in the rankings. 

And one of its four Quad 2 losses could be upgraded to a Quad 1 result if Georgia Tech -- believe it or not -- can win a few more games down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets were No. 80 in the NET before Wednesday's upset of Louisville, so it's not that far-fetched.

As it stands now, the Wolfpack is 4-4 in Quad 2 games, 3-2 against Quad 3 and 6-0 in Quad 4 games.

No matter what, at 16-8 overall (7-5 ACC), State figures to need at least one win in the three Quad 1 games is still has remaining -- two against Duke and one against Florida State -- while avoiding any more "bad" losses against the rest of its remaining schedule -- Sunday at Boston College, at North Carolina and home against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.