Wolfpack make history, send both men's and women's teams to Final Four :: WRALSportsFan.com

Wolfpack make history, send both men’s and women’s teams to Final Four :: WRALSportsFan.com

Sweet 16 weekend was not only a winner for North Carolina State University and its fans, it was historic.

For the first time, the NC State Wolfpack is sending both teams to the Final Four in the same year.

The women’s team took care of business in Portland against the Texas Longhorns, 76-66, behind a 27-point performance from Aziaha James.

Later on Sunday evening, the men’s team continued its miraculous postseason run, handling the in-state rival Duke Blue Devils 76-64 in its Elite Eight matchup in Dallas.

It was late Sunday night when both teams arrived back in Raleigh, but the NC State men and women were both greeted with cheers and applause. Fans even formed a circle around NC State player DJ Burns, who was jumping up and down with his peers.

Coach Wes Moore used a megaphone to thank the crowd as the NC State women got off the bus carrying a trophy.

“Thank y’all, this means so much,” Moore said. “You guys being here … it’s so much fun doing it with you guys, the fans, everybody makes it so exciting here. Thank you so much for coming out and doing this.”

NC State’s last appearances in the Final Four

It is the first time since the Wolfpack’s miraculous 1983 championship run that the men’s team reached the Final Four. In that year, the Wolfpack defeated the Houston Cougars in the title game on a dunk by Lorenzo Charles. The title won by the “Cardiac Pack” is considered one of the greatest upsets in college basketball and arguably all sports.

The Wolfpack men needed a miracle just to make the NCAA Tournament. After finishing the regular season 26-14 (9-11 ACC), they won five games in five days to win the ACC Tournament Championship over the North Carolina Tar Heels and an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.

In winning on Sunday, The Wolfpack became the first team in the history of the NCAA Tournament to reach the Final Four with 14 or more losses, according to ESPN.

The women’s team has been a regular in the NCAA Tournament, and has made the Sweet 16 five times in six years, but it hadn’t reached the Final Four since 1998, when the late Kay Yow led the team. The Wolfpack lost that year to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Kansas City.

“Just a flood of emotions right now,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said after the game. “I think of Kay Yow and 34 years at NC State. I think of the players two years ago who were a double overtime away from being in this same spot…unbelievable.”

The Wolfpack women started the year unranked before rattling off 14 straight wins to start the year, including a win against the 3rd-ranked UConn Huskies. The Wolfpack stumbled at the end of the season and lost in the ACC Tournament Championship game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The Wolfpack became the 11th school to send both men’s and women’s teams to the Final Four. It is the first time since 2017 that a school has sent both women’s and men’s teams to the Final Four. and the 14th time overall. The Huskies have done it four times and are the only team to do it multiple times.

The South Carolina Gamecocks were last to do it. In 2024, the UConn men – the No. 1 overall seed — have made the Final Four. The Huskies women play Monday night for a chance to join them.

‘We are the story’ Wolfpack fans ready for more

NC State fans traveled to the NC State Memorial Bell Tower to celebrate the Wolfpack’s historic Sunday, and a win over an in-state rival.

“It felt good to see my friends lose,” one NC State fan said. “I still love Duke from a distance, but I love NC State all-day long. Let’s go Pack.”

Even North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper got in on the celebration on Twitter.

NC State alums like Kasey McCalla said they’ve felt like the entire country has been pulling for the Wolfpack as the team continues its run through the big dance.

“I feel like we’re America’s team,” she said. “We’re the only double-digit seed left, and we’re the team that has gotten that far. We are the story.”

Many Wolfpack fans who felt scorned by the school’s string of bad luck over the last four decades say the Cinderella-run has made them closer to the team, and the school.

“Having graduated a few years ago,, it makes me feel reconnected to my former classmates, and my school,” NC State alum Kate Luna said.

While it doesn’t happen very often, double-digit seeds making the Final Four is extremely rare. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, seven double-digit seeds, including the Wolfpack on Sunday, have made the Final Four.

The last double-digit seed to make the Final Four was the UCLA Bruins in 2021, who lost to the Gonzaga Bullldogs in overtime, 93-90.


No double-digit seed has won a Final Four game since expansion.

The NC State men will face Zach Edey and the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday at 6:09 p.m., while the women will face the undefeated Gamecocks on Friday.

Source: wralsportsfan.com