WASHINGTON DC – If you follow the ACC, even casually, you know all about the hashtag.

And what it signifies.

Loosely translated for a family website, it’s #NCStateStuff.

It’s the long-standing belief among Wolfpack fans that they can never have nice things. That whenever anything seems to be going their way, the universe will inevitably spoil the fun by hitting them with some sort of unforeseen misfortune.

And man, did it ever rear its ugly head in the final 30 seconds of Thursday night’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal game against Duke.

With State leading by 5 and time rapidly running out on the 2nd-seeded Blue Devils, Ben Middlebrooks found himself all along under the basket for what appeared to be an exclamation point dunk.

Appeared is the operative word here. Because instead of completing the flush, Middlebrooks hit the rim and bounced high in the air.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

As the Wolfpack center reached up to grab the rebound with 1 hand, he hung onto the rim with the other.

Drawing a technical foul.

It was a classic #NCStateStuff moment. Only this time, it wasn’t.

“I was very upset with myself that I would do something like that and mess up the end of the game,” Middlebrooks said in the locker room afterward. “But I had faith in my teammates that they would get the job done.”

This time, they did.

Thanks to a pair of clutch free throws by DJ Horne and another by Mohamed Diarra, the Wolfpack was able to overcome their own history of bad karma and their neighboring rival to escape with a 74-69 upset at Capital One Arena.

In doing so, they became the 1st team since the tournament expanded to 15 teams in 2017 to advance out of the Tuesday opening round into the semifinals.

Kevin Keatts’ 10th-seeded team will get its 4th chance in as many days to survive and advance against either No. 3 Virginia or No. 11 Boston College on Friday. Odds for that game are available on most mobile betting apps.

As much as #NCState is a part of the Wolfpack’s fiber, so too are miracle runs in the ACC Tournament.

It’s a tradition born with Jim Valvano’s Cardiac Pack, which used its surprise title in 1983 as a springboard to an even more improbable national championship. Four years later Jimmy V and his team came out of nowhere again to win the crown as a 6 seed, winning all 3 games in either overtime, double overtime or by a single point.

Herb Sendek won 3 games in 3 days to get State to the championship game out of the old Les Robinson Invitational in 1997 and Sidney Lowe repeated the feat as a 10 seed in 2007.

This joyride, no matter how it ends, might be the most inexplicable of the bunch.

The Wolfpack appeared dead in the water as they played out the regular season with 4 straight losses. The vibe surrounding the team was so dark, at least from outward appearance, that the lights couldn’t possibly be flipped back on.

Even with the promise of a fresh start in the postseason.

And yet, here we are.

The team looks rejuvenated. Its coach is no longer on the hot seat. Most stunningly of all, it’s suddenly just 2 wins away from duplicating the feat accomplished by Kemba Walker and UConn, which won 5 games in 5 days to steal the Big East Tournament championship in 2011.

Need I remind you what that team went on to do?

Okay, so it’s a little premature to start thinking in those kinds of terms. But miracle runs don’t happen by accident. They begin because the players believe in themselves and their team. And the confidence only snowballs as the wins keep coming.

It’s not as if this NC State team is the Bad News Bears. It was good enough to get off to a 5-1 start in the ACC, has won 20 times and has played in enough close games that it would be well inside the NCAA bubble right now had a bounce or 2 at the end gone differently.

“I would say throughout the good times and bad this season, we’ve always been connected,” said Casey Morsell, a DC area native who has been 1 of State’s many heroes over the past 3 days. “We’ve always believed.”

That belief – along with some key adjustments from Keatts and his staff, and an unexpected lift from role players Diarra, Middlebrooks and point guard Michael O’Connell, have helped turn that belief into results.

“Throughout our last stretch of games, we just have to not beat ourselves as much,” Morsell said. “I feel like we were kind of our own worst enemy in terms of different opportunities other teams took advantage of. And we reduced that heading into the tournament.”

The payoff is that instead of beating itself, State is finally starting to beat its opponents.

And at least for now, the curse of #NCStateStuff.