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State fans bring tournament tradition to Brooklyn

Posted March 7

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— There was a lot of Wolfpack pride in Brooklyn on Tuesday, even after NC State dropped the opening game of the ACC Tournament, 75-61 to Clemson.

The ACC Tournament has been held in North Carolina far more than any other state – 54 times -- but was held for the first time this year in New York, creating a much different experience for fans.

Some Wolfpack fans said that even though they knew NC State’s chances were slim, they wanted to continue the tradition of coming to the ACC Tournament.

The Hutzenbuhler family arrived from Raleigh and went straight to the Barclay’s Center just to see the team lose. Still, they said in 20 years of attending tournaments, they weren’t going to miss this one.

“Normally, the Wolfpack does well. All the games are usually good, they’re competitive, except when we’re not here. We didn’t come one time and they went to the final in Tampa,” said fan Angela Hutzenbuhler.

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The Hutzenbuhlers had never been to Brooklyn before Tuesday and said there were pros and cons to having the tournament so far away.

“There’s two things to do in Greensboro -- Hooters and Olive Garden -- and we do one each night and we can commute so that’s nice. We don’t have to pack and spend as much money, but coming to New York is weird,” Hutzenbuhler said.

The family had bought tickets to all the tournament games, just in case the Wolfpack advanced, so they will remain in Brooklyn through Sunday. They said they plan to visit the Statue of Liberty, ride the subway for the first time and take in some shows.

Also at Tuesday’s game was Dereck Whittenburg, who played on the NC State 1983 championship team and is now an assistant athletic director at the university.

He was disappointed by Tuesday’s loss but said he was proud of the players and of the Wolfpack nation.

“NC State fans were present, and they were vocal and cheering right to the end,” he said. “We got great fans here, and we got a lot of pride in Wolfpack nation, and we’re just excited about our future, and we were just proud of our kids today.”

Special moments are still ahead for NC State fans as legendary coach Jim Valvano is set to be honored at the tournament on Friday.

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