NC State’s Magical Run Continues To The Final Four Thanks To Another Huge Night From DJ Burns

Three weeks ago, NC State was 17-14, the 10-seed in the ACC Tournament and staring down the potential of a horrific first round loss to lowly Louisville as they trailed the Cardinals at the half.

However, since then they have done nothing but win, rattling off eight straight wins to earn an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Men’s Tournament and reach the Elite Eight in Dallas, facing a familiar foe in the form of their in-state rival Duke. The Wolfpack have become America’s Team in this run, not just because they’re an 11-seed making a run (coming from a power conference, it’s hard to have a true Cinderella tag), but because they have the Big Fella, DJ Burns Jr., leading the charge.

Burns has become everyone’s favorite player during March Madness, as the man built like a left tackle is absolutely cooking opponents. What makes Burns so enjoyable to watch is that he’s so skilled, both as a passer and finisher, and NC State runs everything through him when he’s on the floor, allowing him to make the decisions on where the ball goes — basically acting as their Nikola Jokic.

Against Duke on Sunday evening, Burns put forth his masterpiece, carving up the Blue Devils to lead a second half comeback that saw the Wolfpack not only erase a 6-point halftime deficit but run away to a double-digit win. Burns had the Duke frontcourt in the blender, going to work any time they didn’t double him by steadily backing them down and hitting them with an array of moves and finishes off the dropstep.

It’s not just Burns that leads the charge for the Pack, as another DJ, DJ Horne, gets the job done for NC State from the perimeter, forming a fairly incredible 1-2 punch that has been nothing short of sensational all month long.

Still, it’s Burns that is the breakout star of the Tournament and, fittingly, he was the one that put the exclamation point on the win with an and-1 as they broke the Duke press with two minutes to play — and did it again with a minute to go.

Burns finished with 29 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Horne added 20 points to lift the Pack to a 76-64 win over the Blue Devils. Next up for Burns and the Wolfpack will be their biggest (literally) test yet, as they face Zach Edey and Purdue in the Final Four in a matchup of big men that would make Big E blush.