When was last time NC State made Final Four? Elite Eight win clinches first trip in 40 years

While NC State’s run through the 2024 NCAA Tournament has been as uplifting as it was unexpected, particularly after its 76-64 victory against Duke Sunday in the Elite Eight, the Wolfpack don’t exactly fit the mold of a traditional Cinderella.

If anything, it’s a compliment.

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Though it’s an 11 seed that snuck into March Madness this year only by virtue of winning the ACC Tournament and earning the conference’s automatic bid, NC State is a proud program with a slew of accomplishments throughout its history. It’s impossible to tell the story of college basketball without mentioning or listing the contributions of Wolfpack players and coaches. This is, after all, one of only 15 Division I programs with at least two national championships to its name.

Still, while NC State’s Final Four appearance in 2024 doesn’t put it among the likes of George Mason, VCU and Loyola Chicago, it’s a notable and long-awaited achievement for the program. Prior to this year, it had been a while since the Wolfpack had advanced this far in the tournament.

How long, exactly? Let’s take a look:

When was last time NC State made Final Four?

NC State’s Final Four appearance this year will be its first since 1983.

More than 40 years later, that trip to the Final Four still stands as one of the most famous runs in college basketball history, a sequence of games that embodies the spirit and unpredictable nature of the NCAA Tournament.

The comparisons between that Wolfpack team and its current one have been frequently made over the past two weeks — going back to that ACC Tournament championship — and figure to increase exponentially as DJ Burns and Co. make their way to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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Much like NC State in 2024, which finished the regular season 17-14, the 1983 Wolfpack went into the ACC Tournament at 17-10 before winning the event with three consecutive victories. Once in the NCAA Tournament, it defeated Pepperdine by two in double overtime in the first round; UNLV by one in the second round; Utah by 19 in the Sweet 16; and Virginia by one in the Elite Eight.

After knocking off Georgia in the national semifinals, it stunned top-ranked Houston — featuring Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and the rest of Phi Slama Jama — in the national championship game. The 54-52 victory came after Lorenzo Charles collected a desperation heave from teammate Dereck Whittenburg and dunked it just before time expired in one of the most iconic plays in American sports history, with coach Jim Valvano running around the court in ecstasy afterward, famously looking for someone to hug.

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How many Final Fours does NC State have?

This year will mark NC State’s fourth appearance in the Final Four.

The Wolfpack previously made it to college basketball’s marquee event in 1983, 1974 and 1950. In two of those years, 1974 and 1983, it won the national championship. The four Final Fours are tied for the 22nd most among Division I programs.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: NC State Final Four history: History of Wolfpack's deepest March Madness runs