The N&O calls it a “big win” in their ACC Now Blog. But, more impressively the N&O rose to the opportunity to defend truth and some common-sense in their comments. We were at the game and didn’t have the “joy” of hearing ESPN’s commentors, but evidently they were quite an act. Their comments got their own thread on Pack Pride that we just read in disgust.
From the N&O:
Instead, for some reason, ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes wanted to turn Lowe’s big moment into a referendum on Herb Sendek.
As the clock wound down and State was about to win, Dykes, ESPN’s color commentator, said:
“They’ve got one of their own on the sidelines and that’s what these fans have wanted for years. Herb sendek did nothing but win ball games here but this fan base was never happy with him.”
Nothing but win? That’s exquisite revisionist history by Dykes. Perhaps he missed February 2006 or Sendek’s first five seasons.
But, and a big fat but at that, this State team, five games into the season, is already in full-fledged Leitao Factor mode. They’re trying harder for their new coach. They’re enjoying the offensive freedom provided by the new coach and his new system.
Lowe, working with the available tools, is applying pragmatic strategy instead of sheer stubborn determination. Michigan can’t shoot from the outside, so he played a zone. Voila! Instant coaching. Sendek would have played a man defense … and lost.
And notice how Lowe handles Grant. The junior point forward is making plays he never would have last season, strictly out of fear of permanent residency in Sendek’s chateau bow-wow — where he often resided.
Also note, for the third time this season, State shot fewer 3-pointers than its opponent (18 to 29).
Nothing but win? How does a coach that ends a decade-long tenure at a school more than 10 games under .500 in conference play do “nothing but win”? For Jimmy, and anyone else who cares, here are stats from the “nothing but win” years. Wait. Those are only the stats from just the last five years since evidently that really wasn’t Herb Sendek coaching NC State from 1996-2000.
This whole topic brings us to more comments on the media. It is so damn weird to read all of hypocritical sites who trashed NC State when Sendek left now heaping praise on Coach Sidney Lowe. I can’t tell you how many times we chose NOT to link articles before this season began that made comments like, “NC State fans will get what they deserve this year!”. Etc, etc.
The following are some comments from the DBR today:
State’s victory over Michigan was nothing short of remarkable. With Engin Atsur only getting six minutes due to injury, and forced to play Brian Nieman (who?) for 31 minutes, State nonetheless controlled the game from start to finish, holding off the Wolverines’ final rally to preserve victory.
More importantly than the upset, two major things happened in the game.
First, Sidney Lowe established himself. Make no mistake, this was highly unusual. You don’t win with six men, none of them a big man or a point guard. You don’t win with your best guard injured and out most of the game.
But secondly, this was a transitional week for State. After the fall of Chuck Amato, the idea held by some that State was no longer a basketball school and had become a football school is over. Amato took care of the first part of that. But Lowe took care of the second part.
Lowe has reconnected State basketball with the past. For all his intellect, Herb Sendek was, in the end, a grind, and never fully understood N.C. State.
How about focusing on basketball, DBR? Instead of saying “Herb Sendek never fully understood NC State”…why can’t we focus on the OBVIOUS that “Herb Sendek never fully understood how to win basketball games at NC State?”
The N&O already noted some of the points that we were talking about in the stands.
Herb Sendek would have never tailored the gameplan around the strengths/weaknesses of our opponent. He would never have switched to a zone from man-to-man beacause “it is not what we do”. Herb Sendek’s offense would have chunked up three dozen or so three pointers. Herb Sendek’s team would have never believed that they could come back from losing Atsur when they were down 12 points.
We can say these things for a fact because we experienced these things for a decade. We can say these things because we watched much more talented State teams LOSE games in the Big 10 Challenge at Iowa last year and at Michigan three years ago that were more akin to pulling teeth than watching basketball. Need we remind you that last year’s great and talented Sendek-led State team scored only 42 points in the Big 10 Challenge and “Took Grinding to a Whole New Level?”
Where was Jimmy Dykes and DBR sitting for the 300+ games we watched the last decade?