Pack, Eagles Battle Today

The Wolfpack has put itself in position for something notable, which is what it has been striving for all season.

The Wolfpack could fall just about anywhere across the board for postseason action beyond the ACC Tournament.

N.C. State fell short of its 11-victory goal in ACC regular-season play, something that coach Mark Gottfried said would put the Wolfpack in a prime spot to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. Still, there might be enough good deeds in racking up a 9-7 ACC record for the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament.

The Wolfpack is void of notable victories, so that's something that must be addressed in the conference tournament. N.C. State is a combined 0-5 against the top four seeds.

But a non-conference schedule that included a victory against Texas and losses to Vanderbilt, Indiana, Stanford and Syracuse are included on its resume helps enhance the Wolfpack's power rating.

The Wolfpack made it to the finish line of the regular season primarily using a seven-player rotation. The team is coming off Sunday night's road victory at Virginia Tech, so it has one of the shortest turnarounds prior to an assignment March 8 in the ACC Tournament in Atlanta.

-- N.C. State might be hitting a good stride at just the right time by finishing with back-to-back victories to round out the regular season. That marks the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Wolfpack has won its last two games of the regular season. By doing so, the Wolfpack has its first 20-win regular season in six years and its first winning ACC record (9-7) in the same time frame.

-- Coach Mark Gottfried directed the Wolfpack to a 9-7 ACC record, which counts as the second-best mark for N.C. State under a first-year coach. Only Press Maravich's 10-4 record in 1964-65 was better.

-- The Wolfpack used eight players in the regular-season finale, with freshman F Tyler Harris picking up two minutes of playing time. It was a strange turn of events in that the two reserves (F DeShawn Painter and G Alex Johnson) ended up with four fouls apiece, though none of the N.C. State players fouled out.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Margin of rebounding advantage for N.C. State in its regular-season finale at Virginia Tech. N.C. State was credited with 40 rebounds compared to 25 for the Hokies. The Wolfpack is 15-6 this season when outrebounding its opponents.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know that a coach going on television and singing his song at the end of the day (makes) much difference outside of making him feel good." -- Coach Mark Gottfried while acknowledging that his team is on the so-called NCAA Tournament bubble when it comes to selecting teams from the potential of at-large candidates.

--vs. Boston College, March 8
The Wolfpack won twice during the regular season against Boston College and keeping track of the young Eagles guards will be one of the priorities for N.C. State, which will want to use its athleticism on the post to its advantage.

FUTURES MARKET: The Wolfpack might be finding that cramming the ball inside is what works best in the long run. With F C.J. Leslie becoming a bigger factor in offensive production, the Wolfpack won't want to miss the opportunity to utilize him as much as possible. The Wolfpack has built a sizeable edge in points in the lane during its last six games, including a 36-22 advantage in the regular-season finale at Virginia Tech. That has become an emphasis during the past month and the Wolfpack won't likely stray too far from that in its intentions heading to March tournaments.

-- Sophomore G Lorenzo Brown needs five assists to tie former player Spudd Webb for seventh place on the school's all-time single-season list. Brown has 194 assists entering the ACC Tournament.

-- Sophomore F C.J. Leslie has set himself up for postseason recognition with a solid stretch of games in ACC play. He has averaged 17.5 points per game in the last nine games and 9.0 rebounds per game during that span.

-- Junior G Scott Wood has made at least one 3-point basket in 27 consecutive games after going 3-for-7 from long range against Virginia Tech. All his made 3-point baskets came in the first half.

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