Mar 18, 2024 - News

🏀 A Wolfpack Cinderella story

NC state victory in acc basketball tournament

Mohamed Diarra under confetti at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., after NC State's improbable ACC Tournament victory. Photo: Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Red and white confetti stuck to DJ Horne's face. Tears filled the Raleigh native's eyes. And when he searched for words Saturday to describe NC State's storybook ACC Tournament championship victory over UNC, he said, "This for the city, man. This for the 919."

Why it matters: NC State's five-wins-in-five-days run to its first ACC title in 37 years, led in part by Horne who grew up 10 minutes from campus, served as a reminder that it's still possible to be a romantic about college athletics, despite countless reports to the contrary, Axios' Michael Graff writes.

  • Wolfpack fans and alums instinctively rushed Hillsborough Street and around the campus belltower, which lit up red for the unexpected occasion.

(NC) State of play: The Wolfpack entered the tournament as the 10th seed and with their coach on the hot seat. They beat Louisville and Syracuse in the first two rounds, but it wasn't until a stunner over Duke in the third round that fans started to dream.

  • Then, in the semifinals, they pulled out a miraculous overtime win over Virginia thanks to Michael O'Connell's bank-shot three-pointer at the end of regulation.
  • That momentum carried into Saturday, when they were in control for nearly all of an 84-76 victory over rival and top-seeded UNC in the title game.

Read more about NC State's stunning victory


Subscribe for more Axios Raleigh in your inbox.

Read the full edition

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Raleigh stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Raleigh.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more