A lot has happened to the North Carolina State basketball team in the past three days.

On Monday, they traveled to Dayton, Ohio, and on Tuesday night they beat Xavier there in an NCAA first-round game. The game ended after 11 p.m. in Dayton, and the team went to the airport and flew to Orlando, getting in about 4 a.m. And after a good morning’s rest, they started getting ready to play St. Louis in the NCAA round of 64 today.

“It was kind of weird getting somewhere at 4:30 in the morning and having to prepare to come in today,” said N.C. State center Jordan Vandenberg.

“It has been a whirlwind,” said forward Kyle Washington.

Not only that, but the game today will be N.C. State’s fifth in the past eight days. Coach Mark Gottfried let his team sleep until after noon on Wednesday before coming to the arena for their public practice session.

“It’s hard,” Gottfried said. “Two days before a game, especially a game of this magnitude, you never want to be taking off at 2 in the morning, which we did last night, but at the same time, it’s part of the turf. That’s OK. It’s not going to be an excuse for us. ... It does make it hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I told our guys, we could be back at Reynolds Coliseum playing in the NIT, so we’re not going to quibble about travel or how hard it may be or a quick turnaround. We’ve got to get ourselves ready to play, and that’s the bottom line.”

It also produced a challenge for SLU. The Billikens watched the first half of the N.C. State-Xavier game as a group at the team hotel, then the players watched the second half in their rooms. When the game ended, the coaching staff finalized the game plan and presented it to the team on Wednesday morning. SLU has been known for its complicated game plans, but with limited time to give it to the team, that wasn’t possible.

“You can’t just smoke them with too much,” SLU coach Jim Crews said. “You’ve got to pick your pressure points and go from there.”

Planting seeds

The 12 vs. 5 matchup is one that frequently presents “upsets,” with the 12 seed having won at least one round-of-64 game in each of the past six seasons. Last year, 12 seeds went 3-1 against 5 seeds. This year, SLU is in that dreaded five spot, and North Carolina State is a 12.

“I think sometimes that 12 seed is a team that may be surging toward the end,” Gottfried said. “Maybe they’re on the rise and maybe sometimes the 5 isn’t. I don’t know that that’s always true. But it does seem like that matchup provides some upsets.”

Crews, though, is fine with being a 5.

“If you have a 5, you probably had a better regular season,” he said. “I don’t think it makes any difference, but you’re probably being rewarded for a better season, so I’d rather do that.”