March Madness Round 64 Preview

North Carolina State vs. Seton Hall

Ninth-seeded North Carolina State takes on eighth-seeded Seton Hall in the first-round of the Midwest Region from Wichita, Kan., on Thursday. The Wolfpack and Pirates had successful regular seasons but both are coming off early losses in their conference tournaments, with N.C. State losing to Boston College 91-87 in its first ACC tournament game and Seton Hall being upset by Butler 75-74 in its opening match at the Big East Conference tournament.

N.C. State scored 56 second-half points as it erased a 14-point halftime deficit but BC’s Jerome Robinson broke a tie with 17 seconds remaining and then forced a turnover on an inbounds play to give the Eagles the upset win. “Every time we made a basket, they would come down and make a basket,” N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts told reporters after the game after he watched his team tie the contest five times late in the second half but saw its only lead on the game’s opening basket. Seton Hall’s loss in the Big East quarterfinal was a heartbreaker as Khadeen Carrington converted a three-point play with 11 seconds to play, giving the Pirates a one-point lead, but Butler’s Tyler Wideman scored on a putback with 4 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs the win. “It’s a tough loss,” Carrington told reporters after the game. “You never want to lose, but I feel like everyone put it out on the floor, but we knew it was going to be a tough battle when we came in, so it was a tough Big East game.”

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, TBS

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (21-11): Senior guard Allerik Freeman, the team’s leading scorer at 15.4 points per game, had a team-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting — including 5-of-7 from behind the arc — against the Eagles while All-ACC third-team center Omer Yurtseven added 20 points and nine rebounds. Markell Johnson, the ACC assists leader with 7.4 per game, had 10 points and six helpers, but also committed a crucial mistake when he asked for a timeout with 7.3 seconds left even though the Wolfpack didn’t have any, resulting in a technical foul and two made free throws for BC. “I knew in my head we didn’t have any,” Johnson told reporters after the loss. “I was so caught up in the game.”

ABOUT SETON HALL (21-11): The Pirates are a veteran team that features four senior starters, including Carrington and leading scorer Desi Rodriguez who averages 17.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. And then there’s senior center Angel Delgado, the Big East’s all-time leader in rebounds and just the second player in history to lead the Big East in rebounding in three different seasons. But don’t sleep on sophomore guard Myles Powell who was named the Big East Most Improved Player after averaging 15.4 points per game — second-most on the team — and is shot 38.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc this season.

TIP-INS

1. Seton Hall has lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons and hasn’t won a tournament game since 2004.

2. The Pirates average 38.2 rebounds per game, third in the Big East.

3. The Wolfpack have allowed opponents to shoot at a generous 46-percent clip this season.

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