PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTVD) -- NC State has the tough task of trying to defeat the East Region's no. 1 seed, Villanova, in Pittsburgh Saturday, and the team's record against top-seeds has been murky as of late.
In six meetings, the Wolfpack have gone 2-3 versus 1-seeds in NCAA Tournament history, and the members of this current Wolfpack roster has never witnessed the upset from their school. In fact, none of players were even alive that last time the feat occurred, in 1983 -- the same year that NC State won the National Championship.
NC State does have this comforting stat in its favor, though -- head coach Mark Gottfried has led an 8-seed to the no.1 seed-upset promise land. In 2004, his 8th-seeded Alabama squad took down the top-seeded Stanford Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. The Crimson Tide fell in the Elite Eight to eventual champion, UConn.
Gottfried believes that this current NC State team shares similar qualities with that Crimson Tide Cinderella squad, especially when it comes to the mental approach.
"You have to believe you have a chance to win. There's no question about that," he said. "Our team this year believes that, as did that team in 2004. You know, that comes from playing good against great teams. We've played good teams. We've beaten good really good teams."
"I tell our guys all the time that you respect everybody that you play, but you fear nobody."
For this young NC State team, riding an emotional high after a thriller over LSU in the second round has helped boost the team's confidence, but Trevor Lacey said the team will have its complete focus intact when it comes to tip-off versus the Wildcats.
"We've been in this situation before, coming off an emotional win and having to come back and play a tough, tough opponent," the junior guard said. "The first time we went through this situation, we didn't do so well. Later in the year, we stepped up, and we responded well off an emotional win."
"We're going to look forward to Villanova and not let [Thursday's] win affect the game [against Villanova]."