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36 Years Ago Today…NC State Won the National Championship



36 years ago today, the Cardiac Pack won the 1983 NCAA Championship against highly favored Houston.

Below is the full writeup from the NC State Media Guide:

NC State’s second national championship was as unexpected as its first was anticipated. The 1983 Wolfpack, head coach Jim Valvano’s third NC State team, was a veteran unit with a gifted backcourt in seniors Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg, and an All-America candidate at forward in senior Thurl Bailey. Although expectations were high that NC State could return to national prominence
in 1983, few expected anyone from the ACC other than Virginia and North Carolina to contend for the national championship.

The Wolfpack, coming off a 22-10 season the year before, got off to a strong start. The Pack won seven of its first nine games, heading into a January 12 game at Reynolds against Virginia. UVa had won five straight from the Wolfpack prior to that meeting.

The season turned when Whittenburg, who had scored 27 first-half points and led the Pack to a 16-point lead late in the first half against the Cavaliers, broke his right foot when he landed wrong on the foot of a UVa player early in the second half. Not only did the Wolfpack let a big lead slip away and absorb its sixth consecutive loss to the Cavaliers, but team doctors informed Valvano after the game that Whittenburg was lost for the season.

Following Whittenburg’s injury, NC State lost three of its first four games. Then, the tide began to turn. The Wolfpack won eight of its next 10 and began to pull back together as a unit. At 16-8 with three regular-season games remaining, things were looking up again. Whittenburg, recovering faster than expected, was cleared to return to the lineup.

He reappeared against the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, and though the Wolfpack lost, the season began to turn again. The Pack finished the regular season 17-10 following a 130- 89 win over Wake Forest in the final game.


Throughout the postseason, Valvano implored his team to stay close every game and put itself in a position to win at the end. “Survive and advance,” Valvano would say, and the Wolfpack took his words to heart with last-minute wins over Wake Forest, North Carolina and Virginia to capture the ACC Tournament title.

The Pack was sent to Corvallis, Ore., for the NCAA West Regionals and a first-round date against Pepperdine. NC State missed its first 12 shots from the field against the Waves, but recovered and managed to force a 47-47 tie at the end of regulation. After Pepperdine built a six-point cushion with less than a minute to play in the first overtime period, it appeared the Wolfpack’s season was slipping away.

Miraculously, the Wolfpack was able to cut the lead to two after Dane Suttle, an 84 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front ends of two one-and-ones. After Whittenburg missed a free throw, Cozell McQueen grabbed the rebound and threw in an incredible off-balance shot from eight feet to send the game into double overtime. NC State went on to a 69-67 victory in the second overtime, and the push toward Albuquerque had begun.
Sixth-ranked UNLV was up next, and after falling behind 52- 40 with 11:40 to play, the Wolfpack went on a run. Bailey hit a jumper with 37 seconds left to cut the lead to 70-69, and after Vegas missed the front end of a one-and-one, he was able to hit a fadeaway bank shot with four seconds to play for a 71-70 win.

NC State cruised to a 75-56 win over Utah in the regional semifinal matchup, setting up another meeting with Virginia in the regional final. Whittenburg continued his sparkling long-range bombing, and the Pack stayed close throughout. Virginia owned a 62-61 lead, when Sampson fouled Lorenzo Charles with 23 seconds remaining. Charles made both free throws, and the Pack was headed to the Final Four.


Houston vs. Louisville was the headliner game in the first round of the Final Four, a game most people said would really decide the national championship. But while much of the basketball world awaited the Cougars and Cardinals, Jim Valvano and his Wolfpack came to Albuquerque and stole the show, on and off the court. Valvano, glib and mercurial on his feet, immediately stole the media spotlight, taking the pressure off his team, which faced 18th-ranked Georgia in the other semifinal matchup. The Wolfpack smoked the Bulldogs, building an 18-point lead with less than five minutes to play before hanging on for a 67-60 win that sent NC State into its second national championship game in nine years.

When Houston destroyed Louisville in the other semifinal game, the NC State-Houston game was viewed as a major mismatch by the national media, though the Wolfpack had won four games against top 10 teams (North Carolina, Virginia twice, and UNLV) in the month of March.
Houston hoped to control the game with its superior front line, led by All-Americans Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The Wolfpack game plan was simple – control the tempo with its peerless guard play. Lowe played all 40 minutes, scored eight points, had eight assists, five steals and no turnovers. He dominated the game from the backcourt. Whittenburg played 39 outstanding minutes, hit six long-range bombs, scored 14 points and had five rebounds. Bailey and McQueen, meanwhile, helped tighten the defense on Olajuwon. Bailey delivered 15 points and five rebounds, and McQueen added four points and 12 rebounds.

The Pack forced the action in the first half and held a 33-25 lead at halftime, but Houston charged back after intermission and took 42-35 advantage following a 17-2 run. The Pack was once again searching for a miracle.

Turnovers and several missed free throws allowed the Wolfpack to tie the game at 52-52 with 1:59 to play, and after Houston missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:05 to play, NC State worked the clock to the 44-second mark and called a timeout.

Valvano wanted to hold the ball until 10 seconds remained, and then have Lowe penetrate in hopes of creating a shot. Instead, State wound up with Whittenburg launching a wild shot from 30 feet. When the shot came up short, Charles was there to grab the rebound and slam it home as time expired to give the Wolfpack a 54-52 win and its second national championship.

For the second time in less than a decade, the state of North Carolina celebrated a Wolfpack national championship, and this time, the entire country was captivated thanks to the charismatic Valvano and the manner in which his determined team of underdogs slayed one Goliath after another in the month of March.

NC State Media Guide

The famous buzzer beater…

Check out the FULL GAME below.

NC State Basketball

Andy Katz Lists NC State’s Markell Johnson as Honorable Mention for Top-25 College Basketball Players


on’s Andy Katz released his Top-25 College Basketball players heading into the 2019-20 Men’s Basketball seasons, and NC State Senior Point Guard earned Honorable Mention status. Out of the 15 players receiving Honorable Mention, there is no indication of ranking order. With that being said, it is clear that Katz thinks that Johnson is one of the Top-40 players in College Basketball.

25. Isaiah Stewart, Fr., C, Washington

24. Andrew Nembhard, So., G, Florida

23. Ashton Hagans, So., G, Kentucky

22. Ayo Dosunmu, So., G, Illinois

21. Killian Tillie, Sr., F, Gonzaga

20. Xavier Tillman, Jr., F, Michigan State

19. Trevion Williams, So., F, Purdue

18. Jalen Smith, So., F, Maryland

17. Tristan Clark, Jr., F, Baylor

16. Sam Merrill, Sr., G, Utah State

15. Kaleb Wesson, Jr., C, Ohio State

14. Udoka Azubuike, Sr., C, Kansas

13. Jarron Cumberland, Sr., G, Cincinnati

12. Devon Dotson, So., G, Kansas

11. Anthony Edwards, Fr., G, Georgia

10. Lamar Stevens, Sr., F, Penn State

9. Anthony Cowan Jr., Sr., Maryland

8. Tre Jones, So., G, Duke

7. Kerry Blackshear Jr., Sr., Florida

6. Jordan Nwora, Jr., F, Louisville

5. Cole Anthony, Fr., G, North Carolina

4. James Wiseman, Fr., C, Memphis

3. Myles Powell, Sr., G, Seton Hall

2. Markus Howard, Sr., G, Marquette

1. Cassius Winston, Sr., G, Michigan State

Honorable mention: McKinley Wright IV, Jr., G, Colorado; Yoeli Childs, Sr., F, BYU; Kamar Baldwin, Sr., G, Butler; Anthony Lamb, Sr., F, Vermont; Nathan Knight, Sr., C, William & Mary; Zavier Simpson, Sr., G, Michigan; Markell Johnson, Sr., G, NC State; Nico Mannion, Fr., G, Arizona; Davide Moretti, Jr., G, Texas Tech; Jordan Ford, Sr., G, Saint Mary’s; Tres Tinkle, Sr., F, Oregon State; Payton Pritchard, Sr., G, Oregon; Mamadi Diakite, Jr., Virginia; Xavier Sneed, Sr., Kansas State;  Joe Wieskamp, Iowa.


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NC State Basketball

RELEASE: NC State & Boo Coorigan Make Statements on NCAA’s Notice of Allegations




On July 9, 2019, NC State University received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA outlining allegations of rule violations related to the men’s basketball program under the direction of former head coach Mark Gottfried during the 2014-2017 timeframe. The notice is attached.

NC State has strong and clear compliance policies, and puts extensive effort into annual training and education to ensure coaches and athletes are fully aware of those policies and NCAA rules. All four allegations are tied to former coaches who were well educated about the rules and knew the rules, and if the allegations are true, those coaches chose to break the rules. No current coaches are named or implicated in the allegations.

The Notice of Allegations is the expected next step in an NCAA process following the federal government’s inquiry into college basketball. NC State received a verbal Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA in October 2018. NC State has voluntarily and fully cooperated, and will continue to fully cooperate, with the NCAA throughout this process.

NC State has 90 days from receipt of the notice to provide a written response, after which the NCAA will set a hearing date. The university is reviewing the allegations and will determine the appropriate next steps and response.

“NC State is committed to the highest levels of compliance, honesty and integrity,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “As the university carefully reviews the NCAA’s allegations and thoroughly evaluates the evidence in order to determine our response, we are prepared to be accountable where we believe it is appropriate and to vigorously defend this great university and its Athletics program where we feel it is necessary.”

Consistent with NCAA rules regarding pending infractions matters, NC State will not have any further comment at this time.

The allegations were tied not only to former head coach Mark Gottfried, but also to former assistant coach Orlando Early. 

Also, Wolfpack Athletic Director Boo Coorigan released a statement as well:


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NC State Releases Notice of Allegations Received from NCAA



The NCAA issued NC State a Notice of Allegations today. There were a total of 4 allegations in the Notice, with two of them being Level I (most severe), and the other two being Level II.

NC State got ahead of things, and released the full notice of allegations. The most relevant portions are below, but you can read the notice in full here.

NC State has 90 days to respond to the NCAA’s notice. The NCAA will then has 60 days to counter. After that, NC State and the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will meet.

Do the math. It could be a year before this thing runs it’s course.

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ACCSports Projects NC State Men’s Basketball to Finish 7th in 2019-20


on has released their early projections for the 2019-20 ACC Men’s Basketball season, and they think that NC State will finish 7th in the conference.

Outside of Jordan Nwora’s decision to return to Louisville, there’s likely no ACC team that got a bigger boost from a draft decision than NC State: Markell Johnson will back for his senior season.

Johnson’s rise as a junior — from pass-first slasher to pick-and-roll engine — was a massive development for Kevin Keatts and the Wolfpack. It’s also why Johnson returns to Raleigh as one of the most important players in the league. Without Johnson, it’s unclear who would’ve taken on the playmaking torch in State’s half-court offense.

Fortunately for Keatts, that’s a discussion for another day.

While still turnover prone (20.5 percent turnover rate), Johnson is a shifty, clever player who utilizes a nice mixture of twitchy handles and athleticism (14 dunks) with some craft. He’s pretty good at some of the tactical dark arts that come with running screen-roll actions, too — manipulating defenders with loopy crossovers dribbles and no-look finds (6.7 assists per 40 minutes).

According to Synergy, Johnson shot 46.5 percent (55.1 eFG%) out of the pick-and-roll this season. He’s especially fond of snaking the ball screen — dribbling back across the path of the opposing help defender.

He’s as comfortable as any player in college basketball at creating a switch and then finding ways to attack the new configuration.

As good as he was out of the pick-and-roll, Johnson could go get his own shot out of isolation, too: 1.07 points per possession (55.2 eFG%). (Note: Johnson was the only play in the ACC to rank top five in the league in both isolation and catch-and-shoot efficiency, 67.6 eFG%.)

This season, expect Johnson to dance in the pick-and-roll a lot with springy big man DJ Funderburk, a fringe NBA prospect, too.

Funderburk — 28 dunks, 66.1 FG% at the rim — is good complement to Johnson. He can dive to the rim, looking for lobs or pocket passes — and hit the offensive glass. Funderburk shot just under 57 percent on basket rolls last season, per Synergy.

His work on the offensive glass was pivotal for NC State; it essentially won a January home game over Pitt after Johnson left with an injury. The transfer big posted an 11.2 percent offensive rebound rate and shot 65.9 percent on put-back attempts — both big numbers.

Funderburk won’t draw any Joel Embiid comparisons, but even with his wiry frame, he’s still decent at carving out space in the post, especially when he’s able to seal his defender in State’s 4-around-1 half-court system.

Johnson and Funderburk (5.9 fouls committed per 40 minutes) need to avoid foul trouble — an issue for both this season — but they should function as an excellent 1-2 combination for the Pack.

Spotting up around those possessions will be grad transfer Pat Andree, a good addition to the program this offseason. During his three seasons at Lehigh (over 2,220 minutes of action), Andree attempted 441 3-pointers — making 184 (41.7 3P%). He’s a bit of a one-trick pony — spot-up shooter — but it’s a necessary skill for a team that shot 35.2 percent from downtown a season ago.

According to Synergy, Andree scored 1.22 points per possession (60.6 eFG%) on half-court catch-and-shoot possessions.

From a leadership standpoint, it may be impossible to replace what Torin Dorn meant to NC State. His time in Raleigh extended back to the Mark Gottfried era; however, he’ll likely be best known for helping set the culture for Keatts.

That said, Dorn wasn’t just a figurehead; the dude was an awesomely rugged basketball player, who battled on the glass, defended bigger players and made tough shots (44.4 FG% on dribble jumpers). NC State has a few options to work into larger roles this season, though.

CJ Bryce was solid for most of his first season in a red uniform (0.87 points per spot-up possession); is he ready for more prominent duties next year? Devon Daniels is a borrowing driver of the basketball who plays without fear on both ends of the floor (2.8 percent block rate), but he needs to refine is shot selection. (95 2PA away from the rim, 32.6 FG%).

Jericole Hellems struggled with his shot as a freshman (44.6 eFG%), but there’s some talent and positional versatility there, too.

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