NASHVILLE – All the hypothetical talk is over, and LSU (22-10, 11-7) is officially in the Big Dance, matched up in an 8/9 game in the East Region with NC State (20-13, 10-8).
The two teams will play Thursday in Pittsburgh.
The Wolfpack were consistently a top-half team in the rough-and-tumble ACC, but Mark Gottfried's troops secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the strength of a strong finish in league play.
NC State roared down the home stretch of the regular season, winning five of its final six contests, including a 74-65 win at No. 9 Louisville and a 58-46 victory at rival North Carolina, then ranked 15th in the country.
Other highlights of the Wolfpack's season include an 87-75 win versus then-No. 2 Duke and an 8-1 start to the campaign.
As for the low-lights, Gottfried & Co. lost at home to Wofford (who did make the NCAAs), at Boston College by 16 and finished a combined 0-3 versus conference foes Virginia and Notre Dame.
Here are some additional notes and statistics on NC State.
Trevor Lacey, 15.8 ppg
Ralston Turner, 13.2 ppg
Anthony Barber, 12.1 ppg
Kyle Washington, 6.7 ppg
Abdul-Malik Abu, 6.0 ppg
Lennard Freeman, 5.6 rpg
Abdul-Malik Abu, 4.5 rpg
Trevor Lacey, 4.4 rpg
Kyle Washington, 4.3 rpg
BeeJay Anya, 4.3 rpg
Anthony Barber, 3.8 apg
Trevor Lacey, 3.4 apg
Cody Martin, 1.2 apg
Beejay Anya, 2.6 bpg
Kyle Washington, 1.2 bpg
G Anthony Barber (So., 6-2, 185)
G Trevor Lacey (Jr., 6-3, 210)
G Ralston Turner (Sr., 6-5, 205)
F Abdul-Malik Abu (Fr., 6-8, 230)
F Lennard Freeman (So., 6-8, 245)
- The two highest scorers and arguably the two best players for Gottfried are SEC transfers in Lacey, formerly at Alabama, and Turner, formerly at LSU but from the Yellowhammer State. Lacey, in particular, plays a physical game for a guard, meaning Keith Hornsby and Tim Quarterman will have their hands full.
- NC State does have legitimate beef inside to contend with Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey. Abu and Freeman both go 6-foot-8 and weigh 230 and 245 pounds, respectively. Further proof the 'Pack can bang inside: NC State ranks 31st in the nation in rebounding at 37.8 boards per game. Having shots rejected won't be as big a concern for LSU, but there will be a legitimate battle on the glass.
First Glance: North Carolina State
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