North Carolina State’s NCAA Success Has Meant A Windfall For The ACC

North Carolina State’s NCAA Success Has Meant A Windfall For The ACC

Michael O’Connell (12) and his North Carolina State teammates celebrate the ACC tournament win over … [+] North Carolina a day after O’Connell helped them get there. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Guard Michael O’Connell not only saved North Carolina State’s season with his buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Virginia three weeks ago, but it is no stretch to credit him with bringing another $10 million to league coffers.

A reverse NIL deal, if you will.

O’Connell banked in a highly improbable three — you can find it on YouTube — from the left wing as time expired to send North Carolina State into overtime against Virginia in the semifinals of the ACC tournament on March 14.

That shot not only worked to help the Wolfpack extend a stunning winning streak that has culminated in the first NCAA Final Four appearance since their 1983 championship, it also has enabled the ACC to reap an unexpected payday.

Success in March Madness determines the share of the NCAA tournament pie that each member institution receives, among the reasons that it is such a big deal just to make the field of 68.

The NCAA distributes the revenue using a system of units, and each game played is worth one unit. A unit was worth about $2 million in 2023 and will be worth about that again this season, according to Sportico.

Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts sported the same lucky shoes in practice Friday that he has donned … [+] during North Carolina State’s Final Four run. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson )

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

By advancing all the way to the Final Four for the first time since Jim Valvano’s team beat favored Houston 54-52 in 1983, North Carolina State earned five units — five more than if O’Connell’s shot would have rimmed out, not in.

“I had a direct view of it. As it went up I was like, man, that shot is going in. It’s going in, and then luckily it did,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said at the time.

The Wolfpack will play Midwest No. 1 seed Purdue in one semifinal game Saturday, and defending champion and East No. 1 seed UConn will face Alabama in the second semifinal.

The matchup of big men is intriguing. North Carolina State 6-foot-9, 275-pound center DJ Burns will go against Boilermakers’ center 7-4 Zach Edey, the two-time national player of the year.

North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano wears the net after the Wolfpack’s 1983 national championship … [+] victory.

Bettmann Archive

Burns will be aided by a supporting cast that includes forward Mohamed Diarra and Pac-12 transfers DJ Horne (Arizona State) and O’Connell (Stanford). Horne is the team’s leading scorer at 16.8 points per game.

Burns, who has averaged double-figure scoring in all five seasons with the Wolfpack, has scored 73 points in four NCAA tournament games. Horne has 66. Diarra, who has fasted since the evening of March 10 while observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, has 47 boards in the tournament. Observers fast daily from dusk to dawn.

The 1983 North Carolina State brought “Cinderella” into the Final Four lexicon, but Keatts does not believe it applies here.

“You don’t win five games in five days and beat the teams that you beat, then get an 11 seed,” Keatts said of the ACC run.

“I don’t think that we’re a Cinderella. I think if you ask anyone that we played, they would probably say the same thing. I will say this to you. Round of 16 we were possibly ranked the 16th team. Elite Eight, we’re the ‘8’ team. Final Four we’re the ‘4′ team.

“It’s kind of worked out for us. We’ll take whatever name that we get. We believe. Obviously we came here to have the opportunity to cut the nets down not as a Cinderella.”

Wolfpack bit man DJ Burns Jr. (30) has shown a soft touch underneath, and guard DJ Horne has … [+] provided counterpoint from outside. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Call them what you will.

Cash cow applies.

Although only five ACC teams made the NCAA tournament, the conference stands to net about $34 million for the 17 games it will play, the most of any conference, according to Sportico. The NCAA payouts go to the conference, not the school.

Elite Eight runs by Duke and Clemson in addition to North Carolina State’s success helped the ACC boost its revenue from $24 million in the 2023 tournament to $34 million this season. No units are awarded for NCAA championship game, so the payouts are set.

The SEC, which earned an NCAA-high $34 million for its 17 tournament games in 2023, played 16 games this season and is to receive $32 million. Alabama, another unlikely Final Four participant, provided an unanticipated boost for the SEC.

The Crimson Tide, the No. 4 seed West Region, generated unexpected dollars by defeating ACC teams No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 6 seed Clemson last weekend to advance to the first Final Four in school history.

DJ Horne had 19 points and five rebounds in the Wolfpack’s victory over No. 2 Marquette in the Sweet … [+] 16. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Big 12 and Big Ten played 15 tournament games apiece this season, good for about $30 million per league.

If not for O’Connell, the talk of “units” and “money” would be moot in Raleigh. The Wolfpack lost seven of their final nine regular-season games to drop to 17-14 and were left only one path the the NCAA tournament — win the ACC title.

O’Connell’s shot tied the Virginia game at 58 apiece, and North Carolina State outscored then Cavaliers 15-7 in overtime to reach the ACC finals against North Carolina, which had won both matches in conference play.

The 10th-seeded Wolfpack beat the Tar Heels, 84-76, to finish their record ACC tournament run of five wins in five days.

As the South Region 11 seed, North Carolina State has beaten Texas Tech, underdog Oakland in overtime, and favorites Marquette and Duke to reach Phoenix. Now this.

“This is the most connected I’ve ever seen this basketball team, and I just love that we get to carry this over into March,” Horne said.

Mohamed Diarra (23) has averaged a double-double in the Wolfpack’s four NCAA tournament games as he … [+] has fasted during Ramadan. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Read More

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma