This entry is based on the statistics contained in this link.
In my life and career, I have always believed that flexibility, diversity of skills, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing situations and environments are as key to success as any other skills. So, when the data and fact set that I am using to help guide me in my conclustions and decisions change, I believe that it is only approrpriate to change my opinion.
A key component drawing appropriate & accurate conclusions is having an appropriate and accurate set of data to analyze. But, statistics can be a tricky thing; and, statistics in the hands of idiots can be down right scary.
For example — in recent days, months and years poor souls without the common sense to hop off the Titanic have been doing everything that they can to find and spout statistics to try to defend NC State Head Basketball coach, Herb Sendek. One, if not the only key statististic that the HSSS crew cites is Herb’s ‘great’ “ACC Record” of 46-34 over the last 5 years. (They have one thing correct – it is very appropriate to compare a coach’s’ performances against the historical success of a program [in addition to comparing their performance to your rivals and to other programs throughout the country with similar resources, traditions, and means]).
These analyses contain major flaws and the people that cite them in comparison to NC State’s history make major mistakes because this approach fails to account for the changes in the Atlantic Coast Confernce since the days of Case, Sloan and Valvano.
NOMINALLY, Herb Sendek’s record of 46-34 over the last 5 years is a fine record and adequately compares with historical RAW numbers. But, REALISTICALLY the raw-record-analysis overlooks a few major points: (1) the impact of the addition of four traditionally weak programs (Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College) that did not previously exist in the ACC, AND (2) the impact of the new, imbalanced schedule in the ACC. (For example, State played the 3rd easiest conference schedule this year)
(We will ignore the fact that many morons have actually been touting the GROSS number of wins of “46″ as a crowning achievement without realizing and accounting for the fact that in many years the ACC had seasons comprised of only 12 games, and in most seasons only 14 games. But, don’t totally ignore the stupidity of some of the people with whom you may agree; it may make you re-consider your company and your point).
Historically, the opportunity for Case, Sloan, and V to pad their conference record against weaker teams and avoid historically strong teams (like State avoided Duke twice in the last 2 seasons) did not exist. They played everyone in the conference twice. We discussed and explained this phenomenon last year in this related entry . More specifically — had State played Duke twice last season then the Pack would have been 6-10 in the ACC and failed to have secured an ACC Tournament birth. This year, the Pack’s record would have been only 9-7.
Mathematically, the addition of the four weaker schools and resulting imbalanced conference schedule have created opportunities for ALL of the old ACC schools to improve their overall records in equal proportions and without necessarily improving their rankings/standings within the conference compared to each other. So, comparing the records of modern day ACC schools with their historical numbers is significantly skewed by this gross number inflation (that so many Wolfpackers seemt to ingore/not understand).
With ^this said, I believe that one of the more accurate ways to compare current performance with historical performance is to compare ACC Tournament seeds as opposed to gross ACC records. By using seeds, you more accurately standardize each season’s performance compared to other teams in the conference. This approach is not perfect; but it is better. For example, the ACC now has a legitimate tie-breaker system that determines seeds in the case of a tie. In some past years however, a random coin-toss helped determine some seeds.
Therefore, this link contains the data of the resulting analysis. Some of the findings are summarized below:
* Herb Sendek’s best consecutive 5 years is the WORST of the best five year run of each coach in NC State history other than Les Robinson.
* Herb Sendek’s best individual 5 years (not having to be consecutive) is the WORST of the best five year run of each coach in NC State history other than Les Robinson.
* Herb Sendek’s lowest seeding is the lowest seeding of any coach in NC State history not named Les Robinson.
* Herb Sendek’s highest seeding is the lowest of any coach in NC State history not named Les Robinson.
* From 1995 through 1989, Jim Valvano averaged a #3.2 ACC seed (despite finishing in a tie for 1st place in 1985 and receiving a 3 seed in the ACC) without putting together as many gross wins as Sendek has in the last 5 years.
* From 1972 through 1976, Norm Sloan averaged a #2.8 ACC seed without putting together as many gross wins as Sendek has in the last 5 years.
* From 1955 through 1959, Everett Case averaged a #2 ACC seed without putting together as many gross wins as Sendek has in the last 5 years.
^ All of that while not putting together as good of a record as Herb has of late.
I can’t help/make people understand math any more than I can make them understand history. This is the best that I can do in trying to explain how we can have such a better “record” compared to history while not competing at the same level as we have historically.