I didn’t get to watch the (so-called) Carolina “game” on television last Wednesday night because I attended the game. (I’ll leave my comments about that decision for a later entry). Therefore, I did not have the opportunity to hear Billy Packer’s comments during the telecast of the game.
Evidently, Packer made multiple points about the Wolfpack’s inability to even attempt to strategically get the ball to Cedric Simmons on offense. Packer called out coach Herb Sendek for failing (again) to effectively utilize the most efficient offensive threat we have – a talented big man shooting 3 feet from the basket with the opportunity to get Carolina’s #1 player into foul trouble. (Most of the HSSS would obviously argue that a 30 foot jumper with a guy in your face is a much more appealing proposition because that is what they have been told to believe. But, we will save that conversation for another day).
Since I didn’t hear Packer’s comments this year, I cannot discuss them with much familiarity. However, I CAN discuss what he said LAST YEAR during Caroina’s visit to Raleigh because I started an entry during that game that I have saved in my draft folder for the last 365 days. (It is odd that last year’s game was also played on February 22nd).
With 17:09 remaining in last year’s State-Carolina match-up in Raleigh, Jefferson-Pilot came out of television break to Billy Packer making some very “interesting” comments. Unfortunately for Lee Fowler and supporters of Herb Sendek, the comments that Packer comprised failed miserably in their original intent to offer support for the status-quo of the ever-divided NC State Basketball Program. Coming out of the commercial break, Packer stated:
I want to throw something out.
Dean Smith lost his first 7 to (Vic) Bubas and 10 of the first 12
Mike Kryzewski lost 8 of 9 when he went up against Dean Smith
Dean Smith beat Norm Sloan 11 of the first 12 times they faced each other
Then Sloan beat him (Smith) 9 in a row.
People that get on these coaches have to let a little time take place.
History will teach some lessons.
I think a TON of Billy Packer as an analyst. I really do. By the same token, I can understand who find reasons not to like Packer. Heck, he has provided enough fodder that ACC Basketblog was able to put together this entire entry on “Hatred for Packer” last year. Hate him all you want, but I challenge you to share ANY color commentator as good as Packer, particularly as good as Packer when it comes to meshing ACC history into his work. There is a reason that this guy does every Final Four — there is no one better.
Having said that, I could not believe that Packer wasn’t astute enough to realize the point that he was truly making last year (and the point that has manifested itself in Sendek/State’s 3 losses to Carolina since) was actually a huge criticism of Coach Sendek.
I ask you to go back and look at the “streaks” that Packer cited again. Surely you notice the REAL TREND that poor Billy overloked?
The examples of Smith, K, & Sloan all followed a pretty consistent and obvious path — Each coach struggled in their first 3 to 5 years against the established program. After the initial 3 to 5 year building period (which was different until the Tournament expanded to 64 in 1985), each coach not only had turned their program into being “competitive” with the program of their rival , but actually established successful streaks of their own!!! If the success had not been achieved by that 3 to 5 year standard (ala Les Robinson vs the Big Four and Bill Guthridge & Matt Doherty vs Duke), then the coach was no longer around to keep trying.
But, Packer’s comments in defense of Herb last year came in the middle of Sendek’s NINTH SEASON!? Sendek has now lost six in a row of his own and has neer beaten Roy Williams. Therefore, I have to ask, ‘Exactly when the F*%$ does ole Billy think that Coach Carnegie Mellon is going to arrive on the same level of Bubas, Smith, Sloan, & Coach K?” How did Packer miss the point that EVERY COACH he mentioned had succeeded in establishing their program both nationally and against their rivals by their 5th year in their job?
I have to wonder if some genius in NC State’s Sports Information Department set up Billy with this “insightful” stat. The information was SO irrelevant and missed the mark SO MUCH that it feels just like something that the blind status-quo lovers and Sunshine Squad members would truly believe made their point as opposed to realizing that it actually proved the OPPOSITE point.
Billy Packer did get one thing one thing right in his diatribe — “History will teach some lessons” (at least to those people willing to learn from it.)
NC State’s historical record (and winning percentage) vs North Carolina was 69-117 (37.1%) prior to the hiring of Herb Sendek. After TEN YEARS of opportunity to build something, Sendek’s overall record (winning percentage) vs North Carolina is 5-17 (22.7%), and his overall record (and winning percentage) against three Carolina coaches not named Matt Doherty is 1-15 (6.3%).
Most HSSSers complain whenever I cite Sendek’s record “against coaches not named Matt Doherty”. As you can see from the real record, the numbers still are not acceptable if you include Sendek’s four wins vs Doherty or not. But, it DOES MATTER if you are trying to extrapolate what to expect in the future from Coach Sendek since “History will teach some lessons.” That is, of course, unless someone named Matt Doherty is suddenly going to start coaching Carolina.
I will sign off from this entry by quoting one of my friends’ comments that I think expresses my feelings better than I could:
The case could be made that State fans just have to be happy with what we have and can’t always compare ourselves to Carolina and Duke. I respect that point of view, but don’t agree with it. I don’t think it is realistic, given the proximity of the three schools and how all three fanbases have historically interacted with each other. When you see you “neighbor” succeeding, you want the same thing.
And when you can never get it, it hurts, especially after having had it. Crunch the numbers all you want. Norm Sloan and Jimmy V may have had their own losing records against Carolina and Duke, but we could always compete on a given day, thus making us feel like we were still in the game with a chance to surpass. But currently, Sendek’s three best teams in a decade are no where close to being in games against Carolina and are losing by double figures averages.
So why put yourself through something that isn’t really enjoyable? And it’s not just b-ball. The same thing applies for football. Rabid fans of teams want to have pride in their teams’ accomplishments. There’s not much pride to be had in mediocrity.