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Live From NCAA Men's Final Four: NC State's Digital Crew Rides the Survive and Advance Wave of Magical Tournament Run

06/04/2024

Live From NCAA Men's Final Four: NC State's Digital Crew Rides the Survive and Advance Wave of Magical Tournament Run Staying in the moment, nods to the 1983 Cardiac Pack are major themes By Kristian Hern ndez, Senior Editor

Saturday, April 6, 2024 - 1:43 pm

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In college basketball, the month of March is made for Cinderella. Typically, the clock strikes midnight on these programs, but in 2024, the dance is still going for No. 11 NC State. The Wolfpack have scratched and clawed their way to the grandest stage in the sport at the collegiate level, and after overcoming insurmountable obstacles to get to Phoenix, the team's creative services department is hell bent on capturing their time in the limelight.

The motto that we've had since the ACC tournament and into March Madness is capturing the moment, says Ben Medland, assistant director, creative brand management, NC State University Men's Basketball. Fans have been waiting 37 years to win a conference championship and even longer to get to the Final Four, so we're trying not to be too flashy.

Ben Medland (fourth from left) and the team posing on the court at State Farm Stadium.

Rattling Off Wins: ACC Title Highlights Streak of Nine Straight Victories NC State wasn't considered a contender to lift the ACC title, let alone a dark horse in Men's March Madness. The team finished 9-11 against conference tournaments, entered the conference tournament in Washington, D.C. as a No. 10 seed, Head Coach Kevin Keatts was on the hot seat after the program's second sub-.500 conference record in three seasons, and vibes were at an all-time low after losing seven of the last 10 games in the regular season. The team's morale became worse when they were down 46-45 at halftime during their opening conference tournament game vs. No. 15 Louisville.

I'm super ambitious when it comes to hype videos, but there became a tradition that we'd lose after I'd make a hype videos, says Medland. We head to the locker room [vs. Louisville], and everyone's looking around and realizing that this isn't how we wanted to end this season.

Medland, Roland DesLauriers, and Patrick Hart with the ACC Championship trophy.

Then, a flip was switched, and the Wolfpack vanquished the Cardinals. Confidence was a bit higher after the team defeated No. 7 Syracuse by 18 points, but the team was facing a buzzsaw in No. 2 Duke on March 14. The squad lost to the Blue Devils at home only 10 days prior, but the team started believing that going deep into the postseason was possible.

We were trying to push out a minimal amount of content [after the Syracuse game] because the mood of the program at that point was that we just needed to survive and advance, continues Medland. It was awesome to beat a team like Duke, and then after you see the shot that Michael O'Connell hit against Virginia to force overtime, we decided that we needed to put out whatever content that we had.

The work wasn't finished, as the Wolfpack came out victorious over vaunted No. 1 University of North Carolina and added another piece of ACC hardware for the first time since 1987. After these five straight wins, the program secured four more consecutive W's in the Big Dance, including an upset over No. 2 Marquette in the Sweet 16 and another over No. 4 Duke in the Elite 8. They're soaking up every second that they can, which has resulted in moments of gratitude and calling out the naysayers during their trip to Dallas, feeling the love of their home fans before their trip to Arizona, and enjoying the calm before the storm at State Farm Stadium. Social content is also being generated around the emergence of stars on the national stage, including dominant forward DJ Burns.

DJ Burns and Medland swap jerseys in the locker room.

All of the guys are getting attention in the national spotlight, and that's what I think is the best part about this experience, adds Medland. I've seen them grow over the last two seasons that I've been here, and you see how they are as people off the court, so it's really great to see everyone get their flowers.

41 Years Strong: The Impact of the 1983 National Champions Continues in Raleigh One of the more improbable champions in the history of men's college basketball, the iconic Jim Valvano led the 1983 NC State Wolfpack to the school's first title. Dubbed the Cardiac Pack, the team had a knack of winning close games over formidable opponents, including the Phi Slama Jama-led Houston Cougars. The achievement occurred more than four decades ago, but because of the close-knit nature of the program and the university, alumni from the team aren't too far away from campus.

I got to meet all of those guys during last year's 40th anniversary, and they come to a lot of our practices and talk to our current players, says Medland. There's always an ongoing connection, and I think our guys latched onto that underdog mentality because we're doing a lot of the things that [the 1983 team] had to do.

The chip on the players' shoulder has influenced the messaging in March, including nods to Jimmy V in their hype videos as well as the Why Not Us? moniker:

A new season.

Why not us. #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/zYEisCvUb1

- NC State Men's Basketball (@PackMensBball) March 21, 2024

Adding a Story to the Name: Regular Season Spotlights Players' Personalities Prior to the fanfare in Phoenix, the team - which also includes Assistant Director, Creative Media, Patrick Hart; Director, Communications, Craig Hammel; videographer Roland DesLauriers, who previously held Medland's position; and others- began sowing the seeds of something memorable. This meant starting from the beginning and introducing the 2023-2
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/04/06/live-from-ncaa-mens-final-four-...
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