02/04/2018 at 11:45 AM #129987
Joy among fans is palpable because NC State is on track to exceed pre-season expectations and make the dance in Keatts’s first year. The media expected us to finish 12th in the ACC, which roughly translates to being a “bubble” NIT team I suppose. Basically this team was expected to squeak out 4-5 ACC wins as Gott set the bar low his past two seasons. Generally the bar the media uses to set expectations, absent a huge influx or outflow of talent, is the prior year’s results.
However we have additional information midway through the season that we must use. Therefore we should throw out our pre-season predictions (i.e. not anchor bias) and update our views accordingly with the information on hand today. So with a clear and unbiased mind I compare this team to Gott’s first-year team.
On paper this team is not as good. Gott had Howell, Brown and Leslie…some of the 3 best at their position in the ACC that year. Plus he had the best shooter with Scott Wood and a future NBA’er CJ Williams (though admittedly he has developed immensely since college in spite of his athletic limitations) along with solid role players off the bench.
Although not as good as Gott’s, Keatts’s first-year team is not chicken sh*^ either. It is more athletic than almost all Sendek teams I witnessed (Sendek recruited players as if he lived in a bygone era – some alternative universe that we could not observe). For example our center will start in the NBA and our PG has NBA athleticism and all ACC potential. Dorn, Abu and A. Freeman are all quite good. Beverly is savvy and his shooting keeps defenses from collapsing into the paint.
Coaching changes in college create a “whir click” automated response by pundits, and accepted by spectators, which goes: “give him time to recruit his players and do not judge him until year 3 or 4…” However that “whir click” automated response is rubbish of course. Looking back at Gott’s first-year team there is little doubt that the pre-season expectation should have been NCAA tournament. You can certainly discount expectations because a first year coach does have obstacles – all else equal – that will not be there in years 3 or 4. However you must judge the coach by his current roster and then discount for “first-year” obstacles. Okay so when we do that we get this:
Gott’s first-year team was a top 25 team on paper and therefore his Sweet 16 appearance should not have been a surprise. However because the “whir click” expectations set by pundits, the results were a “surprise” and the fans fawned over him. Lowe had set the bar so low that even a coach with average facilities could easily exceed them.
On paper Keat’s first-year team is middle of the ACC (which translates into an NIT team or a bubble NCAA team [these largely overlap]) on paper, which is higher than pre-season predictions. Think about it…all but the worst teams in the Big 5 start the season as bubble teams because there are so many at-large slots available. So while making the dance should not justify a lifetime contact for Keats, it would put him on the right side of “corrected” expectations. If Keats keeps winning and slides past bubble status (this is quite possible) then he would handily beat expectations, even when correcting for what the proper view of the team should have been (which again is a bubble team). Alternatively if Keatts’s remains a bubble team and made noise in the dance (Sweet 16) then we can say he handily beat the “corrected” expectations. Even if Keatts misses the dance and falls into the NIT, then he met the “corrected” expectations (since this is all but certain Keatts could almost lose out and still meet expectations).
As it stands now, Keatts looks like a very good hire and he appears to be (or is) better than Gott. However there are 20+ other coaches who could have had this team in the bubble position (not saying they were available or interested) so I hesitate to label him the next Valvano. The real difficulty is maintaining high (top 25) recruiting classes and keeping the roster stable so it develops synergy, which is required to overcome talent deficiencies and build a program. Gott could not keep kids around and his recruiting was sporadic for various reasons. Keats appears better than Gott in this category and although it is early, there are reasons to believe that Keatts’s first class is not a fluke (six or seven 4* recruits if you count transfers).02/04/2018 at 12:46 PM #129988
PA44, not only do I agree with your elegant assessment, but I thoroughly enjoy your writing style. My inner scientist/statistician is very happy. That’s one of the benefits of a fan site for a science based school, I guess!02/04/2018 at 1:07 PM #129990
No problem with your assessment but I have another way to look at GOTT vs Keatts. Resume….Gott resigned from Alabama mid season ,was out of coaching for at least two years and got the State job thru his personal relationship with Yow. Keatts was an assistant at Louisville and was given a raise and promotion to associate Head coach by Pitino to try and keep him at Louisville. The three years at UNCW are well known and that got him the State job.02/04/2018 at 3:06 PM #129992
CKK also did a fine job of filling out the roster after his arrival, but before season’s start IIRC…how would this compare to that aspect of Gott’s first year?02/04/2018 at 3:44 PM #129993
It is hard to compare one to the other because the program was not static. For all the issues Gott was most likely the only option at his hiring – he did move the program away from the Lowe era. Not KK can build on that. I think KK has done better first year so far but Gott also moved things forward. To this point I’m all in for KK I see adjustments in game and I’m also a big fan of the idea of playing defense. To me KK gets some time to put his team roster in the image of his ideal. I give him huge props so far.02/04/2018 at 3:57 PM #129995
there are 20+ other coaches who could have had this team in the bubble position
I don’t disagree with the overall message in the OP, but I disagree with this assertion. To frame what Keatts has accomplished so far, consider:
1. He had some role in convincing Y7 to return this season. Not sure how much of a role, so hard to judge how likely it is that 20 other coaches could have done that.
2. He signed rotation players Al Freeman, Hunt, Batts, and Beverly. There was no reason to think any of those players were coming to State prior to Keatts being hired. Different coaches presumably would have gotten some different players, but how likely is it that any other coach who would have considered State would have brought in a group as good as this one to play immediately? Seems very unlikely to me, and I feel certain there aren’t 20 others who could have done it.
3. He has achieved some things that haven’t been done at State since Jimmy V, such as back to back ACC road wins and beating Duke and UNC in the same season when both were top 10. No way there are 20 other coaches who would have considered State who could have done that.
Also, while it is not directly relevant to being a bubble team this year, he already signed a very strong class for next year, including 4 transfers and 4 incoming freshmen. Again, other coaches would certainly have signed some players, but a group as strong as this group seems doubtful. No way 20 others would have matched that.02/04/2018 at 8:05 PM #129996
For what it is worth LLWolf, I graduated from the College of Management – not a STEM program per se but I appreciate your comment.
Tau838: To elaborate, when I mention that there are 20+ other coaches…perhaps I should put it more generally. I believe there are 20+ other coaches who can take a team with average talent and make the dance. They may not do so every year, but they have demonstrated the aptitude…for example, in the ACC we have four coaches who regularly demonstrate this ability: Larranaga, Brey, Bennett and Buzz. In addition, most would agree that Boeheim and Krzyzeksi have this ability although they have not had average talent in decades. I do not lump Roy Williams in with these others…I do not believe him (or Calipari) could regularly take teams with average talent and make the dance. Thanks to chance, many average coaches can get lucky at the margin, squeak out a few extra wins, and make the dance with average talent.
To analyze the specific circumstances, as you do, is outside the scope of my post. Perhaps you are right on your points, although I would hesitate to give credit to back-to-back road wins or beating Duke and UNC in the same season because those “variables” seem spurious, although they make for good headlines, they play into the emotional element of analysis that I am trying to avoid. Unless perhaps they have some sort of predictive probability. I believe the more predictive variable is winning conference games, and coaches that win a lot of those games also tend to win back-to-back road games and they tend to beat good teams in the same season (Duke and UNC are usually good). Therefore those “variables” are not predictive but rather are the effect of good coaching.02/04/2018 at 8:24 PM #129997
Engineers don’t know anything about predictive variables, just wins and losses. QED.02/05/2018 at 1:18 AM #129999
I believe there are 20+ other coaches who can take a team with average talent and make the dance. They may not do so every year, but they have demonstrated the aptitude…for example, in the ACC we have four coaches who regularly demonstrate this ability: Larranaga, Brey, Bennett and Buzz. In addition, most would agree that Boeheim and Krzyzeksi have this ability
Your “20+ coaches” reference is irrelevant unless referring to those coaches who might have come to State last offseason. Larranaga, Brey, Bennett, Buzz, Boeheim, and Coach K are irrelevant.
Please give us a list of the 20+ coaches to whom you are referring.02/05/2018 at 7:26 AM #130000
Although not as good as Gott’s, Keatts’s first-year team is not chicken sh*^ either. It is more athletic than almost all Sendek teams I witnessed (Sendek recruited players as if he lived in a bygone era – some alternative universe that we could not observe). For example our center will start in the NBA and our PG has NBA athleticism and all ACC potential. Dorn, Abu and A. Freeman are all quite good. Beverly is savy.
On paper Keat’s first-year team is middle of the ACC (which translates into an NIT team or a bubble NCAA team [these largely overlap]) on paper, which is higher than pre-season predictions. Think about it…
A couple disagreements- 1st Yurt may start in the NBA at some point, but he is likely not athletic enough for today’s current NBA game to be a long time fit. He’s definitely more of a college player. He is not athletic enough so while he may be a tough matchup in college, he is not matching up with NBA centers. Markel has NBA speed, but not shooting yet. I do agree that he has NBA speed tho. Dorn is great. Abu has been hurt. Al is a solid role player who thinks he is not and can sometimes perform like a star but Keatts has made him buy into the team concept. The guy comes off the bench and has still mostly bought in. Regardless, we have some talent this year but not Brown,Howell Leslie Wood talent or anywhere close.
Right now we are 4th in the ACC.02/05/2018 at 8:14 AM #130001
fwiw… there’s an analytical side to ‘business’ that can be just as ‘scientific’ as any hard science and a ‘mathematical’ side to business that can be just as ‘mathematical’ as any type of engineering…
At the end of the day… you want both sets of numbers — the descriptive and the predictive… to use in your decision making processes.
PA44 has done a good job of pointing the inherent bias in the media’s expectations of performance after a coaching change. The ‘give the guy time to install his system and recruit his kids’ is a ‘global’ (bias) variable as it applies to every coaching change in every sport at every level and is the generally accepted and proven message used by ‘management’ in an attempt to manage public opinion among a highly diverse group of stakeholders. Keep expectations low and out perform them and your job, for the most part, is safe.
The are also local variables (bias) which are unique to one school and one job.
In the case of NCState, that engineering/science/farmboy school cuts both ways….
My Pop was a math/physics/engineer guy who always said — “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” — pure engineering logic, imo… And that’s exactly the logic and discipline we want from the guys who design and build our roads and bridges.
That ‘logic’ is also deeply embedded in the cultural DNA of NCState and in the case of ‘expectations’ is also a ‘bias’.
Another thing we don’t talk about is that for generations NCState attracted smart kids from all 100 counties who for one reason or another could not or would not attend another Big Four School. Those kids brought a common perspective of ‘the way things are around here’.
That too is also deeply embedded in the cultural DNA of NCState and in the case of ‘expectations’ is also a ‘bias’.
Now if you don’t know what I’m talking about not talking about, then you either weren’t born in North Carolina or you were born after 1985.
The point here perhaps is simply that for the same reason we might not set expectations high enough; we also don’t allow ourselves to enjoy exceeding them. One mistake is just as bad as the other.
In the case of THIS basketball season, after the last couple of seasons, it’s time to enjoy some ‘good’ basketball without over-thinking it…
Finally… this season is no fluke… and RT those W&Ls are both descriptive and predictive numbers and when we look at the bench and see Keatts and three classes of ‘his kids’… Uncle Roy and Coach Rat will retire, if they hadn’t already done so, because they can’t live with NCSTate kicking their a##es every time we go at it on the hardcourt…
Think about it… the only reason The Nose led UN* into the ‘cheating abyss’ was because they couldn’t live with NCState kicking their a##es every time we went at it on the hardcourt… Coach Rat simply followed The Nose down the same road.
GO PACK!#NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!02/05/2018 at 8:23 AM #130002
Engineers don’t know anything about predictive variables
Ummm… not quite rt, there are many processes in engineering that depend heavily on predictive variables, otherwise there would be a cubic butt ton (not a predictive variable) of testing equipment blown up on a daily basis. In sports predictive variables abound, and the better a coach is in defining them the more success they tend to have.
Smarter than the average bear02/05/2018 at 8:44 AM #130003
Let me know when you guys are ready to take a joke.02/05/2018 at 9:38 AM #130004
<joke>#NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!02/05/2018 at 10:47 AM #130014
Another thing we don’t talk about is that for generations NCState attracted smart kids from all 100 counties who for one reason or another could not or would not attend another Big Four School.
That certainly didn’t apply to my era. That more accurately describes the kids who went to ECU than State or UNC.02/05/2018 at 10:53 AM #130015
On paper Keat’s first-year team is middle of the ACC (which translates into an NIT team or a bubble NCAA team [these largely overlap]) on paper, which is higher than pre-season predictions.
When a bad team loses its top three scorers, expecting that team to improve to the middle of the ACC seems silly to me. Maybe it’s just a minor nitpick, but KK built this team with very little to start with.
While I’m certainly happy with exceeding expectations, don’t forget that UVA over-corrected with Pete Gillen. He exceeded expectations when they were low enough, but could never really move into the top-half of the conference. This year is great, but the expectation for the next five years should be for State to permanently move into the top half of the conference, with occasional forays into the two-round bye territory. When that’s accomplished, then we’ll know that we’ve got the right coach.02/05/2018 at 1:45 PM #130026
I am happy with KK and the season so far. I actually enjoy games again and, for the most part, think we have a shot to win each and every one (except maybe UVA). I don’t like being a pessimist but that unfortunately has been part of the Wolfpacker DNA since the days of Jimmy V. I hope we can keep this trend going and resume our rightful place in the top tier of the conference. I thought Gott would get us where we wanted to be but the signs were there early that he couldn’t run a program. He achieved less with more than any coach I can remember.02/05/2018 at 2:46 PM #130030
The point here perhaps is simply that for the same reason we might not set expectations high enough;
we also don’t allow ourselves to enjoy exceeding them. One mistake is just as bad as the other.
Dilly Dilly, here is to enjoying the exceeded expectations. It has been, and is a fun ride. I am enjoying it immensely.02/05/2018 at 4:45 PM #130033
I think that winning the game after winning a “big” game – twice – is the best indicator of what KK brings to the table. Seems like State has always been capable of pulling off an upset, but they were outliers. Taking the big win in stride and retaining focus is key to building a season.02/05/2018 at 5:11 PM #130034
He’s doing a heck of a job with this team.02/05/2018 at 5:22 PM #130035
… a small thing, but the ‘ICE CREAM’ factor is starting to get legs…
WOLFPACK on the “Others getting votes” lists in this weeks Polls…”
At a glance, we’re about 3-4 Wins out of the Top 25…
or 2-0 this week, whichever comes first…
GO 2-0 PACK!#NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!02/05/2018 at 6:12 PM #130036
Some really, really great posts in this thread. I will quote a few excerpts that I tend to agree with:
I have another way to look at GOTT vs Keatts. Resume….Gott resigned from Alabama mid season ,was out of coaching for at least two years and got the State job thru his personal relationship with Yow.
I thought Gott was an awful hire for the reasons highlighted here. I was not happy with that hire. Gott exceeded expectations in year one due to the fact that Sid was such a bad program manager (note, that is different from an in game coach) that there was really nowhere to go but up.
Regardless, we have some talent this year but not Brown,Howell Leslie Wood talent or anywhere close.
Sid left Gott a complete roster. Every year away from Sid’s players, the HMS Gott took on more water. We have a handful of nice pieces but they certainly didn’t look like a roster that meshed early in the year. They’re playing their way into a formidable opponent. Go up and down that starting five though, and outside of Yurt, there’s not a player on this roster better than the one on Gott’s first team.
When a bad team loses its top three scorers, expecting that team to improve to the middle of the ACC seems silly to me. Maybe it’s just a minor nitpick, but KK built this team with very little to start with.
Here’s the first of two great points by VA. I think it very accurately portrayed expectations coming into the year, and by comparison where we are now. There’s admittedly plently of work left to be done.
While I’m certainly happy with exceeding expectations, don’t forget that UVA over-corrected with Pete Gillen. He exceeded expectations when they were low enough, but could never really move into the top-half of the conference. This year is great, but the expectation for the next five years should be for State to permanently move into the top half of the conference, with occasional forays into the two-round bye territory. When that’s accomplished, then we’ll know that we’ve got the right coach.
And therein lies what I think is the real point of the original poster. It is easy to get blinded by early returns. We shouldn’t back up the Brinks truck just yet. Year one (so far) is going pretty well, but it is not yet done. We have a lot more games (hopefully) left to be played. Let’s see how we finish, and what momentum we carry with us into the offseason.
Finally… this season is no fluke… and RT those W&Ls are both descriptive and predictive numbers and when we look at the bench and see Keatts and three classes of ‘his kids’…
I tend to agree with this. I thought Gott was a horrible hire. I thought Keatts was a very good one. Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to believe, and thus have confirmation bias. I think Gott inherited a pretty complete TEAM that just needed a new culture and ANY sort of structure between games. Gott left a complete mash up of “stuff” and was coming off two pretty awful years (losing record with a lottery pick at PG is a special kind of awful). We’re seeing them come together to be the best “team” NC State has seen at this point in the regular season in quite some time.
Uncle Roy and Coach Rat will retire
I’m not sure that I agree with the “why” that followed this statement, but I do agree with the statement. Not only will Roy and K be gone, but there will be a changing of the guard in the ACC over the next ~ 5 years. We’ve seen Pitino be pushed out. Jim B. is hanging on as long as he can, but he’s got to be on borrowed time. Larranaga may be brought down by the FBI, and if he sees that coming will likely “retire.” There’s no way that Syracuse and Miami replace HoF coaches with the same caliber. K and Roy are probably about to call it quits, and I don’t think their succession plan is that clear. The door is wide open for NC State to walk through.
When we were treading water with Gott, it was pretty infuriating because it looked like we might blow this opportunity. I couldn’t help but think back to when we were messing around with HWSNBN while UNC had Doherty. They got Roy and it was painfully obvious for any of the believers that the Desert Wanderer was never going to get it done. It should have been obvious much earlier. I was afraid we were making the same mistake this time.
When we pulled the trigger on the early firing, I was thankful. All I wanted was for us to have a chance to seize the moment when the changing of the guard happens. Keatts may or may not break through (which I think is the point of the original post), but there is actually a chance. That’s all a NC State fan could really ask for. For the first time since V, there is real hope for restoring our program. The next 3 years will tell us whether that will actually happen.02/05/2018 at 7:36 PM #130037
^*******all of the above back to the OP…
“A NC State Man Needs No Introduction”
The ghosts of Winston Hall would be proud of our literary skills, including punctuation and spelling…
fwiw1… the toughest class I EVER at any school took was ENG 110…
fwiw2… Gott’s problems weren’t in the gym or on the court… they were across town… I’m thinking Keatts ‘knows better’, but time will tell…
Ya’ll know… handling ‘success’ is more difficult than handling ‘failure’.
fwiw3… Keatts years on the bench at Louisville with Patino are the rock on which we now stand… I’m thinking this may have been underestimated in our ‘expections’.
I’ve had bosses I learned alot of good things from, and I’ve had bosses that I learned ‘what not to do’ from too… And then there were those who did both… to wit… Keatts and Patino.
Until proven wrong, I’ll stand solidly by my earlier point that the Blues will go to extreme measures to keep themselves in the Upper Division at the expense of keeping NC State in the lower division. Local rules apply.
POP!#NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!02/06/2018 at 8:33 AM #130043
No matter how you look at it KK was probably the best fit that we could hire, that being said he does have the potential to slide right up there with the big 3 in NC State lore (Case, Sloan, V). No one else since V had that potential IMO. Seemed we were always hoping for the best, but rarely getting it. I know, its EARLY, but when we hired Gott I had an uneasy feeling that was a train wreck waiting to happen. Something about a guy who has a reputation for always chasing a skirt that just doesn’t sit right. And HWSNBN could have had a personality clash with a door knob and it would have come out a draw. Sid just wasn’t. But I have a feeling about this KK guy, you have to have a special metal to coach at a military school. He could be a real winner (in the long haul).
Smarter than the average bear02/06/2018 at 8:57 AM #130044
Yogi: I think you and I are on the same page here. Keatts is the best hire we have made since V was pushed out. I will kind of give Les a pass, and I could sort of see some thinking HWSNBN was an up and comer (we clearly picked the wrong Pitino assistant on that one).
Sid clearly was a bad hire. That was Fowler trying to buy some time before being run out of town on a rail. That was obvious at the time of the hire, and many of us on here were vocal about it. We had some good candidates in Marshall and Miller and then went with a “name.” I remember my conversation with Packi the day that hire was made and the best we could say was “at least Fowler won’t hire the next coach.”
With Gott it was clearly as bad as Sid. I knew when I found “the email” in my inbox that we were in dire straights. Then when we hired Gott with a Yow presser of “trust me and Gary got his revenge” all I could do was shake my head. I had followed Gott’s career at Alabama. It wasn’t just the antics off the court that got him fired mid-season. It was the incredibly inconsistent results within seasons, failure to seize the moment, lack of defense and overall .500 record in the SEC. A tiger doesn’t change its stripes, but I guess Yow really wanted to believe he had. I guess it looked like he may have for a season, but year two was a complete train wreck and he completely shut it down once we took him off that incentives based contract.
I bring all this up for a couple of reasons. It feels a little different this time. I actually have hope as opposed to just waiting to see how long it will take before it blows up. There’s also the cautionary piece which was the intent of the original post. Let’s be suppprtive but not get ahead of ourselves.
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