Kevin Keatts on reaching Final Four: 'Our school deserves it'

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham04/02/24

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NC State coach Kevin Keatts talks ahead of trip to Final Four

It’s been a long time since the NC State men’s basketball team has been on a run like this. And head coach Kevin Keatts was unapologetic about the meaning and value of the run his team has been on back on campus.

Speaking to media after the No. 11 seed Wolfpack beat No. 4 seed Duke to cinch up a berth in the Final Four, Keatts said he felt like the school was deserving of such a moment to bask in. And he made sure to point out he’s not the only coach leading an NC State basketball team into the final weekend of the season.

“It means a lot. Our school deserves it,” Keatts said. “Our players have really worked hard. The fans deserve it. We’ve done a really good job. When I say we, I always say we. I mean, these young men in the locker room through all the adversity that we have we went through, up and downs of winning games and losing games. They never lost their faith and stayed together. It means a lot. It really does. By the way, congratulations to our women’s team too for making the Final Four. That’s really special.”

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And though NC State was a long shot to make it this far in the tournament, Keatts shared that this was a goal for the squad all along.

“These young men in the locker room from day one have kind of believed in everything that I’ve preached to them and everything that they talked about,” Keatts said. “At the beginning of the year, we talked about what are your goals, and I think to a man everyone said we want to win the ACC. Check. What’s your other goal? It’s obviously go on and compete for a National Championship, and we’re still alive for that opportunity.”

NC State’s Elite Eight win drew plenty of eyes

CBS Sports and TNT Sports delivering the most-watched slate of Elite Eight games since 2019.

Viewership for the games was announced on Tuesday, just a couple of days after those games finished on Sunday. The headline game for the weekend was an ACC affair, with the Cinderella team NC State taking on traditional powerhouse Duke while 15.1 million viewers tuned into the game. It also had a peak of 18.8 million viewers.

It’s that NC State-Duke game that is the most-watched Elite Eight game since the 2019 season. Those 15.1 million viewers were up 34 percent and was the most-watched telecast on Easter on any network in 11 years, when Duke and Louisville met in the 2013 Elite Eight.

The games on CBS during Easter Sunday averaged 12.8 million viewers. That’s up 30 percent from last season. It’s part of a spike in overall NCAA Tournament viewership being quite high. This year, games are averaging 9.4 million viewers across CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. Again, that’s up from last year, in this case by four percent.

The other Elite Eight game on Sunday, between Purdue and Tennessee, averaged 10.4 million viewers and peaked at 15.3 million viewers, just a little above the average viewership for the NC State and Duke game.