Wolfpack ‘pay homage’ to ’83 squad, on to Elite 8


DALLAS — None of this year’s NC State players were born in 1983 when the Wolfpack last went on their improbable run to the men’s NCAA tournament championship. But they know the history.

“I’m fully aware,” guard Casey Morsell said. “We pay homage to that team and that group all throughout the year. Those guys have been valuable to us by coming back, giving us feedback, giving us different things that we could do to be better. So we definitely appreciate them, and we honor them just by going out and trying to win.”

This season’s Wolfpack are becoming like the 1983 team. A seemingly unlikely team, as an 11-seed, to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament when it began, the Wolfpack moved into Sunday’s Elite Eight South Regional game by beating second-seeded Marquette 67-58.

They will play Duke, which defeated Houston 54-51 later Friday. NC State beat Houston in the 1983 title game on a last-second shot.

NC State also won the NCAA championship in 1974 led by the legendary David Thompson.

Coach Kevin Keatts referred to members of both teams as big brothers, uncles and “maybe some of them even granddads” to the current players.

“Our ’83 team [and] our ’74 team have been tremendous,” Keatts said. “We don’t have to talk about that history now because we celebrate it the entire time. It’s been talked about since I’ve been here, and it’s going to be talked about as long as we ever are going to remember. It’s not one of those things where we have to point to it and say, ‘Here’s what happened in ’83, here’s what happened in ’74.’ We talk about the great David Thompson. Obviously we had his statue unveiled for him this year. Those guys are always around.”

This NC State team had to win five games in five days to win the ACC tournament just to qualify for the NCAA tournament — beating Duke along the way. It has now won three additional games in the tournament by dominating Marquette.

The Wolfpack held the Golden Eagles to 4-of-31 shooting from 3-point range and outrebounded them 42-35. Those are stats that could get NC State to its first Final Four in 41 years if it can repeat them Sunday.

“Why not us?” center DJ Burns asked. “We get a lot of disrespect. People still don’t think we’re supposed to be here, but we’re going to keep trying to crash the party.”


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