North Carolina State's DJ Horne celebrates a 3-pointer against UNC.

NC State Triumphs Over UNC, Clinching First ACC Tournament Championship in 36 Years

March has arrived, bringing with it the excitement and unpredictability that define this time of year in college basketball.

North Carolina State achieved an incredible feat by winning their conference tournament with a score of 84-76 against North Carolina on Saturday night. This victory secured their spot in the NCAA Tournament, just in time for Selection Sunday.

The team, which had faced challenges by losing seven of their last nine games in the regular season, came to Washington as the 10th seed in the ACC tournament. They had a daunting task ahead: to win five games in five days to keep their season alive. Remarkably, they managed to do so, defeating Duke, securing an overtime win against Virginia, and finally overpowering the Tar Heels.

It’s been a long time since NC State won the ACC tournament, with their last victory dating back to 1987 under the legendary coach Jim Valvano.

Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts highlighted the unexpected nature of their success. “Everyone thought it would be Carolina and Duke,” he said on Friday. “But it’s Carolina and NC State. We also play great basketball at NC State.”

The team’s success was significantly driven by DJ Horne, a fifth-year guard, who scored 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting despite facing foul trouble for much of the second half. He was fouled out with just over a minute left in the game.

DJ Burns Jr. also played a pivotal role, especially with his strong presence in the post. Weighing 275 pounds, he frequently troubled the Tar Heels, contributing 20 points, seven assists, and four rebounds.

With this victory, NC State has introduced an element of chaos into the NCAA Tournament field, just hours before the bracket is revealed. The team is expected to join North Carolina, Duke, and Clemson as the ACC teams in the field. This win might spell trouble for Virginia, which was one of the key teams on the bubble.

For more exciting moments and updates from men’s college basketball, you can follow Tom Schad on Twitter @Tom_Schad.