NC State reaches NCAAs for 1st time since 2006

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 11, 2012
North Carolina State's players waited so long to hear their name called on Selection Sunday that senior C.J. Williams started praying. First-year coach Mark Gottfried and athletic director Debbie Yow started considering what to say if the Wolfpack didn't get an NCAA bid. It came down to the final pairing before they learned N.C. State was back in the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years. The Wolfpack (22-12) earned the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and will face sixth-seeded San Diego State on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. None of the current players have been to the tournament before, making Sunday's news awfully special no matter how long the players had to wait for it. ''I really can't even put into words right now how I'm feeling,'' an emotional Williams said after the team and athletic staff held a private viewing party on the school's Centennial Campus. N.C. State knew it was on the bubble coming into the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, then beat Boston College and Virginia to improve its chances. The Wolfpack lost a tough game to top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday's semifinals, denying the program of a marquee win that would've likely removed any doubt about its NCAA chances. It turned out Gottfried's bunch had done enough. ''I had a good feeling, but when it got down to one spot left, it's all or nothing at this point,'' Gottfried said. ''I was happy to see our players respond like they did - it was pandemonium in there and it should be. These guys have worked really hard and they've come such a long way.'' The Wolfpack made five straight NCAA tournaments from 2002-06 before Herb Sendek left for Arizona State. Former Wolfpack point guard Sidney Lowe took over, but he went just 86-78 overall, never finished higher than ninth in the ACC and never led the school to the NCAAs. Yow hired Gottfried, who cautioned that the program was a long way from being where he wanted. He said Sunday he knew it would be ''a tall order'' to get back to the NCAA tournament in his first season, though the group played with confidence and steadily improved behind sophomore C.J. Leslie. N.C. State helped its chances with a tough nonconference schedule, beating Texas but losing to Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Indiana. All the players could do Sunday was try to stay positive through what Gottfried called a ''gut-wrencher'' of an afternoon. ''It was pretty special,'' Yow said. ''I don't think I'll ever forget this one.''
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst: NFL Week 2
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

UFC 205 headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez

Greg Hardy told police someone slipped cocaine in his wallet

Report: LSU will ‘gauge the interest’ of Saban, Meyer, others

Dustin Byfuglien didn’t enjoy the World Cup of Hockey

Marlins’ Dee Gordon emotional after lead-off HR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Patrice Bergeron’s worries go away with Brad Marchand’s contract signed

Report: Gabbert in danger of losing starting job to Kaepernick

John Fox won't commit to Cutler as starter when healthy

Report: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins claimed by Jets off waivers

Dez Bryant to undergo MRI after suffering knee injury

Report: Adrian Peterson determined to play again in 2016

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Gordon: Hitting HR for Fernandez ‘best moment of my life’

Box Score: 9/27 - Goodbyes, farewells and hurdles

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

Ten NFL early-season studs and duds

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

LeBron supports Kaepernick but will stand for national anthem

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker