For me, the question shouldnâ€™t revolve around whether the Wolfpack can climb over both Duke and North Carolina in the race for neighborhood supremacy. Because letâ€™s face it, if you have even an ounce of rationality, you know that ainâ€™t happening while Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams are still around. But once you get past that intimidating dynamic, ask yourself this: Is it insane to think that N.C. State could legitimately emerge as the third or fourth or even fifth best program in the league very quickly?
Consider this: Since March 2009, seven of the ACCâ€™s 12 programs have undergone coaching changes. If that doesnâ€™t scream that the leagueâ€™s wide open, I donâ€™t know what does. Of the five coaches in the conference who have been around for more than two seasons â€“ and yes, there are only five now! â€“ tell me which ones you donâ€™t think State could better regularly. Leonard Hamilton? Seth Greenberg? Gary Williams?
Good column and information from Dan Wiederer today. He highlights a point that so many people outside the NC State community can’t seem to understand. That point was cemented even further in this season’s Final Four that ended last night with #3 seed UConn
cheating beating #6 seed Butler for the national title.
If people don’t remember, then UConn actually finished 9-9 in the Big East and in 9th place overall. Did having Syracuse, Georgetown, Pitt, Louisville, etc… in front of them in the standings keep them from winning the national title?
The run made by VCU was amazing in the post-season. But this was a team who only finished 4th in the Colonial Athletic Association! 4th!!!! If a school like VCU can make the Final Four having finished 4th in their conference with essentially only 1 player on the team recruited by an ACC school, then coaches can certainly make that type or run in March at a school like NC State that has top 15 talent since 1998.
This perception that somehow NC State’s job is so difficult and that our expectations are out of line couldn’t be further from reality. Very few people expect the next NC State coach to come in and win regular season titles in the ACC. You don’t have to. How about just finishing 3rd to 7th, getting a top 10 seed in the NCAAs, and making a run every few years to the Sweet 16, Elite 8 or Final 4? Build the program over time and be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented to NC State when both Coach K and Roy Williams retire.
As Dan notes in his column, the ACC is wide open. A school that recruits top 15 talent, has a 20,000 seat arena, a new practice facility, the right amount of academics, and access to talent throughout the East is a prime opportunity. That is the reality of the NC State job no matter what anyone in the national media says about NC State.