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Ken Medlin

State-Carolina game has major postseason implications

Posted February 23, 2013

There was a time – you have to go back a couple of decades, or three – when UNC vs NC State was the game.

Really...it's true.

For most of North Carolina, this was the hotly-contested rivalry. For fans outside of Durham and Chapel Hill, this was the game that fueled their passions. This was the game that got their blood boiling.

Of course, the Duke-Carolina rivalry has risen to another level – one not approached by many rivalry games, if any – but for many fans, the matchup of NC State and North Carolina still has that extra bit of importance.

Especially now.

For the first time in recent memory, both teams need this game. Both are quality teams in need of a quality win. Both have a chance to get that win Saturday in Chapel Hill, but only one can walk away with it. In short, there's a lot riding on this game. And somehow, it feels right.

Let's start with the ACC tournament. State and Carolina are both part of a 3-way tie for third at 8-5. Virginia is the other team involved in the deadlock, and only two of those three teams will have the pleasure of a first-round bye. Finish fifth, and you're playing on Thursday in Greesnboro. This game could go a long way towards determining which team gets an extra day of rest.

Then there's the bigger issue of the NCAA Tournament. Most feel NC State has done enough to secure a bid, while Carolina needs to reinforce its position. Let's look at a few numbers.

The website The Bracket Project averages out the seedings from 86 different NCAA Tournament projections. According to TBP, State's average seeding is a 6.85 - likely a #7 seed at this point. Carolina's average comes out to 10.11 - putting them close, but on the good side of the bubble as a #10 seed.

For comparison, Virginia is the first team listed "out" in this compilation, with an average seed of 11.55.

So if you're State, beating Carolina could help improve your seeding. And if you're Carolina, beating the Pack keeps you off the "bubble."

But, it's possible those average seedings are a bit low. Another site, Realtime RPI, has State's RPI at #22, and Carolina at 25. The selection committee has been known to put a lot of stock in the RPI - and if those numbers hold, both teams could be looking at 6/7 seeds right now.

These things are all, of course, "subject to change." And Saturday's matchup between these two pillars of North Carolina's public education system will likely have a big effect on the postseason prospects for these two Universities.

It's a meaningful game. And that's good to see...

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  • BeastOfTheHill Feb 23, 6:56 p.m.

    Nice work Roy!

  • Hokies94 Feb 23, 5:33 p.m.

    Good article Ken.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Feb 23, 9:48 a.m.

    I think Carolina needs this win more than State. Carolina still has to face Duke at home and Maryland and Clemson on the road. None of those games are easy wins. Carolina is capable of winning them all, as well as losing them all, which would be disastrous for their hopes of Dancing in March. I'm picking Carolina to win today. Go Heels!

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