Axios Raleigh

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March 18, 2024

πŸ™Œ Welcome to Monday.

🌀️ Weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 60°.

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 759 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: πŸ€ A Wolfpack Cinderella story

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

2. Time to dance

How are you feeling about your team's chances? Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Selection Sunday has come and gone and the brackets for the NCAA men's and women's tournaments are set. (Want to join our bracket challenge? More on that below.)

Here's where our Triangle-based teams will be playing:

NCAA men's tournament

🐏 UNC got the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, despite the loss in the ACC tournament final.

  • The Tar Heels will play the winner of Howard and Wagner in Charlotte on Thursday.

😈 Duke got the 4th seed in the South Regional and will play No. 13 Vermont in Brooklyn on Friday.

🐺 NC State landed the 11th seed in the South Regional and will take on No. 6 Texas Tech in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

NCAA women's tournament

🐺 NC State got the 3rd seed in the fourth regional and will play No. 14 Chattanooga in Raleigh on Friday.

😈 Duke earned a 7th seed in the third regional and will play 10th seeded Richmond in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday.

🐏 North Carolina received the 8th seed in the Albany regional and will take on No. 9 Michigan State in Columbia, SC, for a chance to play No. 1 South Carolina on Saturday.

3. The Tea: Ruth runs for mayor again

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

πŸ—³οΈ NC State professor Terrance Ruth is mounting another campaign to be mayor of Raleigh. (Axios)

⚾️ The city of Wilson hopes building a new minor league baseball stadium for the Carolina Mudcats will revive its downtown. (Triangle Business Journal πŸ”’)

βš–οΈ Monique Holsey-Hyman, a former Durham City Council member who was accused then cleared of extortion and campaign finance violations last year, has sued the city, two councilmembers and several city staff members. (News & Observer πŸ”’)

  • She is accusing them of a conspiracy to slander, libel and retaliate against her.

4. πŸ›’ Trader Joe's makes it official

Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Popular grocery store Trader Joe's has made it official that it will expand to North Raleigh.

State of play: The new store β€” located at 8111 Creedmoor Road in the Brennan Station shopping center β€”Β will be the city's second store and the Triangle's fifth overall.

What's next: Trader Joe's said it hopes to open the new Raleigh store this year.

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5. Join our NCAA bracket challenge

UNC's RJ Davis was named ACC player of the year. Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Let the madness begin. Each year hundreds of thousands of people β€” from celebrities to presidents and high school students β€” set out to correctly predict the winner of the Big Dance.

How it works: Sign up for our Axios Raleigh group on ESPN and enter a bracket for the men's or women's side, or both! Once the tournament wraps up, we'll see who had the most accurate predictions and select a winner from each group.

  • The password to enter the group is "Axios."
  • Entries must be completed by Thursday, March 21, at noon.


Why it matters: You'll earn bragging rights and maybe a piece of swag.

πŸ˜… Zachery tried but can't find it in himself to dislike DJ Burns.

πŸ€ Tell your neighbor and friends to join our bracket challenge and subscribe to our free newsletter.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Lucia Maher.