ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10: C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack celebrates after a basket against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
North Carolina State made it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament field by beating the teams it needed to beat.
North Carolina State remains no better than the third-best college basketball team in the state of North Carolina. But the Wolfpack is dancing, getting to the 2012 NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection. As the No. 11 seed in the Midwest, they'll face No. 6 San Diego State in the second round.
N.C. State didn't distinguish itself in either its non-conference schedule or ACC play. The Wolfpack went 11-4 before ACC play, and 9-7 in conference before scoring a couple of wins in the ACC Tournament, then being bounced by North Carolina in the semifinal.
The Wolfpack's selection as an at-large team, then, is mostly about being rewarded for beating the teams that they were supposed to beat. Their best wins were over Texas, and twice over Miami, but their worst loss was to Georgia Tech, and a dearth of bad losses is good for any team's tournament profile.
For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.