Ron Green, Sr took off his Carolina-blue glasses and was kind enough to include the rest of the Big Four in a great article in today’s Charlotte Observer.
Green is kind enough to include NC State in his conversation about the Big Four, despite the fact that we have done little to support the prominence of the Big Four in the last fifteen years. (See: The Big
Four Three). Additionally, this thread on the Free Board of PackPride.com has more perspective on Green’s article.
“It’s Big Four basketball. There’s nothing like it in America, and don’t say there is if you don’t want to get your ears scalded. North Carolinians have been raised on barbecue, grits and Big Four basketball — with a little stock-car racing on the side. It’s family. It’s what warms the winter nights, what we talk about over the morning coffee, what makes us paint our faces, take off our shirts and act the fool. Raise a querying eyebrow at the Grand Quadrumvirate? No sir, a quadrillion times no. In fact, quadruple that.
Where else can you drive roughly 100 miles in about 1 hour, 45 minutes — from Winston-Salem to Chapel Hill to Durham — and find three of the top 10 teams in America this season, three who at one time were in the top five? Add another two dozen miles or so and a half hour or so from Durham to Raleigh and you’ve driven from tip to tip of what is affectionately known as Tobacco Road, home to 32 Final Four teams, nine NCAA champions and almost all of the ACC regular-season and tournament championships.
Home to Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Everett Case, Norm Sloan, Vic Bubas, Frank McGuire, Michael Jordan, David Thompson, Christian Laettner, Tim Duncan, the Cameron Crazies, the theatrics of Bones McKinney, Jim Valvano exhorting us to never give up, the great misshapen old Reynolds Coliseum, students who camp out for days to get tickets, who traditionally burn campus benches after a big victory, who traditionally roll the campus with toilet paper after a major win, students — and others — who cry when they lose the big one.
Call up any year and dust it off and the glory will gleam. Case’s early teams at N.C. State set the stage for the greatness that followed. North Carolina undefeated in 1956-57. Duke’s seven Final Fours in one nine-year stretch. N.C. State’s victory over UCLA’s perennial champion Bruins en route to the NCAA title. The Valvano Wolfpack and its improbable run to the championship.”
It is nice to read about the history of the Big Four in light of NC State’s mighty struggles against our bretheren in the Herb Sendek era. With only one game remaining against Big Four competition this season, NC State is yet to capture a victory.
If Sendek were to go O-fer Tobacco Road this season, it would be only the fourth time in the history of NC State Basketball, and Sendek would become the only coach in NC State History to have gone winless against the Big Four on two different occassions. Sendek also went winless against the Big Four in the 2000-2001 season, and as much as Lee Fowler proclaims that season (and the seasons before it) doesn’t count and didn’t really happen…somehow I don’t think that Roy Williams, Skip Prosser, and Coach K choose to ignore Sendek’s nine year record when they are in high school recruits’ living rooms.
Big Four Bytes
* Herb Sendek is 15-46 against Big Four competition in his nine years at NC State.
* Herb Sendek is 9-16 against Big Four competition in the only four years at State that Lee Fowler can remember.
* Herb Sendek is 7-37 against Big Four coaches who have not been fired or pushed out of their jobs in the last nine years.
* Herb Sendek is 5-14 against Big Four coaches who have not been fired or pushed out of their jobs in the only four years that Lee Fowler can remember.
* In 27 different opportunities, Sendek has compiled a winning record against a Big Four opponent in a season only 4 times. The coaches that were responsible for 3 of those 4 winning seasons were fired or forced out of their jobs. Sendek swept Skip Prosser in 2003-2004 season.
* Herb Sendek has never compiled a winning record against all three Big Four teams in a single season. He has managed to break-even on two occassions to earn a .500 record. This helped to offset the 2000-2001 season when he went winless against the Big Four for only the third time in the history of NC State Basketball. With one game remaining against Wake Forest remaining this year, Sendek could go winless against Tobacco Road for only the fourth time in the history of NC State Basketball. (But luckily, the first time this happened won’t count because Lee Fowler said it wouldn’t).
* In 9 years of coaching at NC State (or four years if you are Lee Fowler), Herb Sendek has compiled a winning record against a single Big Four coach. That coach was fired after four consecutive losses to Sendek and a 3-year year tenure that included the following achievements for the fired coach:
- winning ACC and National Coach of the Year honors
- more weeks ranked at #1 in the country in a single season than Sendek has been ranked in the Top 20 in nine years.
- more weeks ranked in the Top 10 than Sendek has been ranked in the Top 25 in nine seasons
- achieving final RPI rankings of #4, #119, and #52 in 3 years. Herb Sendek has achieved an RPI ranking better than #52 in only two of nine seasons at NC State.
- a 13-win season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sendek has never won more than 11 games in the ACC and has compiled a losing ACC record in 5 of 9 years (will be 6 of 9 with one more loss this season).
The following table provides some historical perspective of NC State’s Basketball History against the Big Four prior to the time that Larry Monteith and Todd Turner choose not to field a competitive program. It also includesdetail for the two coaches who have not been asked to produce on-the-court results to earn their fat paychecks.