N.C. State’s baseball team has been to the NCAA tournament 15 times (in 20 seasons) under coach Elliott Avent. All of Avent’s tournament teams won at least 34 games before the NCAA tournament.
After a three-game ACC sweep of Virginia Tech this past weekend, the Wolfpack stands at 25-20 on the season with 10 regular-season games left and then two more guaranteed games in the ACC tournament. That’s at least 12 chances to win nine more games to hit what has been Avent’s magic number.
That will be a difficult task, even with some winnable games coming up on the schedule. The sweep of the Hokies was the Wolfpack’s first in any series this season (including nonconference sets with Hawaii and Austin Peay).
N.C. State’s current five-game winning streak is its longest of the season.
Another, less reliable indicator for the postseason, has been N.C. State’s conference record. Thirteen of Avent’s 15 NCAA teams have had a winning record in ACC play. Since the NCAA field expanded to 48 teams in 1987, the Wolfpack has never had a winning ACC record and missed the field.
Two of Avent’s teams, in 1999 (11-13) and 2004 (11-12), made the NCAA field with a losing ACC record. The sweep of Virginia Tech improved this year’s Wolfpack team to 11-13 with six ACC games remaining — three at Pittsburgh and three at home against Clemson.
Pitt’s only 8-13 in ACC play but N.C. State is 3-9 on the road in conference play with particularly ugly series losses to Boston College (a sweep) and Notre Dame. Clemson (16-8 ACC), which was swept this past weekend at UNC, is ranked No. 4 in the RPI.
With final exams this week, the Wolfpack won’t play any midweek games and has a break from ACC play. N.C. State will host Delaware (24-17) in a three-game set starting on Friday. Seven of N.C. State’s last 10 regular-season games are at home.
The ACC tournament, which will include 12 teams this year, starts May 23 in Louisville, Ky. If the tournament started today, N.C. State would be the No. 8 seed in Pool A with Louisville (No. 1 seed) and Virginia Tech (No. 12).
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Closing in or missing out?
With 25 wins, N.C. State is closing in on what has been a magic number for Elliott Avent’s teams. All of Avent’s NCAA tournament teams (15 in 20 years) have won at least 34 games before the start of the NCAA tournament. At 25-20, and 11-13 in the ACC, how this year’s Wolfpack team compares to the five that didn’t make it: