In his third season at NC State, Mark Gottfried has coached the Wolfpack into the Big Dance for the third time. NC State, a bubble team in 2012, advanced to the Sweet 16 that year with wins over San Diego State and Georgetown.
Last year's NC State team made the tournament as a No. 8 seed and lost in the second round. This is NC State's 25th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time and the first time its been a No. 12 seed. NC State is 33-23 all-time in what Mark Gottfried calls "the greatest show on Earth."
NC State played in the NCAA Tournament at UD Arena last year, but just two players on this year's roster (Warren and Lewis) appeared in that game. The first round of the 68-team event has been played at Dayton since the tourney expanded to 68 teams in 2011.
The host Dayton Flyers team is coached by former Wolfpack player Archie Miller, who played at NC State from 1998-02 and was the team's director of operations in 2004.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
T.J. Warren, the ACC's leading scorer with 24.8 points per game, was voted the league's player of the year by the ACC's head coaches and the media. The 6-8 sophomore is the top scorer among all players in the Power 5 conferences. By scoring 21 points vs. Duke, he set a school record with 29 games with 20+ points in a season.
After pouring in a career-high 41 points on 16-for-22 shooting in NC State's win at Pittsburgh on March 3, he topped that with 42 points in a win over Boston College on March 9.
Warren, who has reached double figures in 35 of his last 37 games, is also first in the ACC with a .525 field goal percentage (minimum 5 FG made per game). He is on pace to become just the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in both scoring and field goal percentage (Horace Grant, Tim Duncan).
Warren is also among the ACC's leaders in rebounds (7th), offensive rebounds (2nd), minutes played (8th) and steals (4th).
WHEN THE WOLFPACK DANCED THE HARDEST
It's fitting NC State earns a tourney bid 40 years after capturing its first national title, a 1974 crown behind legendary players David Thompson and Tommy Burleson.
NC State, ranked No. 1, knocked off No. 4 Maryland to earn the ACC's only bid to the tournament. NC State roared into the Final Four, taking down Bill Walton and UCLA in the semifinal before defeating Marquette in the championship game.
Jim Valvano's 1983 "Cardiac Pack" went on one of college basketball's all-time great tourney runs, defeating Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma with a buzzer-beating dunk by Lorenzo Charles.
GOTTFRIED IN NCAAs
This is Mark Gottfried's third time taking NCSU to the tourney, but the veteran coach knows the dance. He coached Alabama into the bracket five times, including a 2004 Elite Eight run. He coached Murray State in the 1997 and ‘98 tourneys. Gottfried has won seven NCAA Tournament games and was also an assistant on Jim Harrick's national champion staff at UCLA.
BIG-TIME SCORING LEADER
T.J. Warren, currently third in the nation in scoring, is the top scorer among players in the ACC, American, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.
HE GOT 40 BACK-TO-BACK
After scoring 41 at Pitt and 42 vs. BC, T.J. Warren became just the seventh player in ACC history (2nd in NCSU history) to score 40 or more in consecutive games. The last ACC player to achieve that was Ga Tech's Kenny Anderson in 1990.
T.J. Warren will likely become the sixth player in ACC history to lead the conference in field goal percentage two years in a row. His mark of .525 is the best in the league among players with 5.0 made FG per game. He shot .622 from the floor as a freshman last season, the second-best percentage in school history.
T.J. Warren leads the nation in made field goals per game. The 6-8 Warren averages 9.7 made field goals per contest, slightly more than national scoring leader Doug McDermott of Creighton (9.4 made per game).
OTHER NOTES ABOUT #TONYBUCKETS
T.J. Warren's 24.8 ppg average is the most for a Pack player since Monroe averaged 27.0 in 1990-91 and stands sixth in NCSU history. He is the first Pack player to lead the ACC in scoring since 1996 (Todd Fuller).
Lennard Freeman, a freshman who just turned 18 in December, scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds vs. Duke in the ACC tourney. He averaged 6.3 points and 7.7 rebounds during the conference tournament. He brings toughness and a hard-nosed style off the bench for NC State.
Anthony ‘Cat' Barber leads NC State with 124 assists and is ninth in the ACC in assist/turnover ratio. He led the team in assists (14) and steals (4) in the ACC tourney. His 124 assists ranks fourth on NCSU's single-season list for a freshman.
NEW TO THE BRACKET
According to KenPom.com, NC State is 330th in the country in player experience. Of its 14 active players, 12 have not appeared in an NCAA Tournament game.
LAST YEAR'S TOURNEY
NC State fell to Temple in last year's NCAA Second Round in Dayton, Ohio. T.J. Warren was held to four points and Tyler Lewis played just five minutes.
TYLER TAKING CARE OF IT
NC State has a +3.0 turnover margin when Tyler Lewis starts at point guard. The team's turnover margin is -0.1 when Lewis comes off the bench. The Pack has 20 outings this season with 11 or fewer turnovers, including a game with just five miscues vs. Miami and six turnovers at Pitt.
TURN IT UP AT THE TIP
Ralston Turner, who started for two seasons for LSU before transferring to NC State, has stepped up and become a reliable second scorer for NC State. In his 20 starts this season, Turner is averaging 11.3 points per game. In his first start in conference play, Turner scored 23 points to lead NC State to a win over Maryland. In his 14 games off the bench, Turner averaged 8.6 points per game.
KYLE COMING AROUND
Kyle Washington, who has started 23 games this season, will be a key player in the future for NC State. The 6-9 freshman owns an accurate midrange jumper and is effective going to his left jumphook in the lane. He scored 14 points with 10 rebounds at Syracuse and scored 13 points at Virginia Tech. Washington pulled in 10 boards vs. UNC and then scored 13 points vs. Miami.
4 COACHES HAVE GOTTEN TO ACC SEMIS EARLY
Mark Gottfried has coached NC State at the ACC Men's Basketball Championship three times. Each time, the Pack has won two games and advanced to the semifinal round. Gottfried is now the fourth coach in ACC history to coach his team to the tourney semifinal in each of his first three seasons (Everett Case, Murray Creason, Vic Bubas).
WHO IMPROVED HIS SCORING THE MOST?
No player has improved his scoring from last season to this season more than T.J. Warren. The 6-8 Warren raised his scoring average an ACC-best 12.7 points from his freshman season a year ago.
WOLFPACK INSIDE THE ARC
Only three teams in college basketball rely more on 2-point baskets than NC State. 61.6 percent of the Pack's points come from inside the arc, the fourth-highest mark in the nation. T.J. Warren shoots .580 on his attempts inside the arc.