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March Madness: No. 11 seed NC State continues magical run with upset of No. 6 Texas Tech

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 21: Mohamed Diarra #23 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack reacts during the second half of a game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 21, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
NC State has been a different team since the start of the postseason. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) (Tim Nwachukwu via Getty Images)

NC State's wild run didn't end with its ACC tournament title.

The 11th-seeded Wolfpack opened an NCAA tournament run that no one saw coming with an 80-67 upset of No. 6 seed Texas Tech on Thursday, their sixth straight win in the postseason after losing four in a row to end the regular season. It is the program's first time in the second round since 2015, when it stunned No. 1 seed Villanova.

It was a very good day to be a No. 11 seed overall, as Duquesne beat BYU and Oregon beat South Carolina earlier in the day. The lone No. 6 seed remaining is Clemson, which faces New Mexico on Friday.

NC State punched its ticket into March Madness with a five-wins-in-five-nights run through the ACC tournament that saw it upset Duke, Virginia and UNC along the way. It was the NC State's first ACC title since 1987 and the first run of five straight wins in a conference tournament since Kemba Walker led UConn to the 2011 Big East title.

Many college basketball fans will remember Walker proceeded to lead the Huskies to the NCAA title that season, as a No. 3 seed.

NC State might have had a lower seed than that UConn team, but it looked like a battle-tested veteran team on Thursday. The Wolfpack spent much of the first half going back and forth with the Red Raiders before finding just a little daylight, going into halftime with a 37-33 lead.

The game was won midway through the second half, when NC State ripped off a 13-2 run to take control in Pittsburgh. They didn't exactly do it with lights-out shooting. Just continuous muscle in the paint.

March Madness fans love their distinctive players and NC State more than provided that with DJ Burns Jr., the 6-foot-9, 275-pound senior whose surprising burst gave Texas Tech issues all game. Burns finished the game with 16 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while Ben Middlebrooks came off the bench to lead the Wolfpack in scoring with 21 points.

NC State's reward will be a date with No. 14 seed Oakland in the second round on Saturday. The Golden Grizzlies pulled off an even bigger stunner in the previous game, shocking No. 3 seed Kentucky with a barrage of 3-pointers from breakout star Jack Gohlke.

Gohlke said after Oakland's win that the team isn't a Cinderella. Against NC State, they really might not be.