The last week or so has been very good for NC State. We’ve blogged a ton of items and hope that you will take some time to scroll through the blog and make sure that you haven’t missed anything that of interest. Just this weekend we had almost a dozen entries that looked forward and looked back.
Even though we have been quite busy, a lot of comments/observations have fallen through the cracks. The following are some quick bytes that haven’t been shared since the ACC Tournament:
* Much is being made about the ACC’s poor performance in the NCAA Tournament. Although I think the ACC was the most competitive and deepest conference in America (as highlighted by the RPI), the conference’s failure to advance more than one program into the sweet sixteen does not surprise me. We were very deep this season, but it was never a secret that we lacked the “star power” at the top of the league to advance a lot of teams deep into the tournament.
* Despite the league’s struggles this season, you can always turn to history boost the ego. Dave Glenn logged an entry focused on the ACC’s dominance of the modern tournament history that will make you feel better. Just a couple to wet your whistle:
The ACC’s all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.674) is significantly better than any other conference. The Big East (.625) is second, the Big Ten (.621) third and the Pac-10 (.609) fourth. Nobody else is over 60 percent.
Since 1980, when the NCAA lifted its limits on the number of participants per conference, the ACC has had just one losing season in NCAA Tournament play (5-6 in 1987) and has a success rate over 66 percent. Again, nobody else is close.
Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the ACC has had 111 teams in the NCAA Tournament, about the same as the Big East (116). Yet the ACC has 221 wins in that span — 35 more than the Big East. The Big Ten has had 124 participants since 1985 yet has 42 fewer wins. The SEC, with 110 participants, has 61 fewer wins. The Pac-10 has less than half as many NCAA wins as the ACC in the modern era. Since the Big 12 formed in 1996, it trails the ACC 96-72.
The ACC has won three of the last six (50 percent) national championships, with three different teams — Duke in 2001, Maryland in 2002, and North Carolina in 2005. The league also has won six of the last 16 (37.5 percent) NCAA titles, and eight of the last 25 (32 percent).
* UNC-CH had to play ABOVE their normal game to beat us in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. That’s a compliment, folks.
* The selection of Brendan Wright over Brandon Costner as the ACC Tournament’s MVP was ridiculous. I realize to the victor goes the spoils, except that I remember in 1983 when NC State won the NCAA title and yet Akeem was the Final 4 MVP. I guess only NC State gets a shaft like that.
* It was interesting to hear that many, many VT fans were pulling for UNC in the ACC. Tells you that they are indeed a newcomer and don’t understand basketball in their new league. I had heard that many VT folks were ‘VT football fans but UNC basketball fans’ – guess that was true.
* If I could have chosen the (non-Big Four) team for NC State to sweep this season then it would have been Virginia Tech. As I said in a comment on February 1st:
As likable as Seth Greenburg is, his propensity to publicly comment on NC State’s coaching situation (Herb Sendek) last year really rubbed me the wrong way. He talked A LOT on Fox Sports radio, etc about the situation in Raleigh and was too critical of Wolfpackers for my liking. IMHO, he would have been better served to have kept his mouth shut. In 2005, Greenberg defeated a deep and experienced Wolfpack coached Herb Sendek in their first battle in Cassell Coliseum. In 2007, Greenberg lost a thin and inexperienced Wolfpack team coached by Sidney Lowe. I guess I don’t blame him for loving Sendek so much.
* One of the biggest winners of the last two weeks has been Dennis Horner. The kid is making some clutch shots and is learning how to create his own shot more easily in the flow of the offense. Costner is a given, but Horner will be a critical role player over the next few years.
* The other big winner is obviously Sidney Lowe. Some are comparing Sid’s run to Herb’s in 1997 in believe that this will put some additional pressure on Sidney to produce better results more quickly. That may be true, but I also think that Sidney is more prepared to elevate the program more quickly because of his recruiting philosophy differs from Sendek’s. In addition to his communication style with players and his inability to coach offense, Sendek struggled for his next 4 years because he effectively ignored North Carolina High School talent and opted to cash his ‘rising star’ chips on kids with no local ties like Adam Harrington. When something goes wrong for kids like these, their first instinct is to transfer as they have nothing binding them to the area or the school. This created significant turmoil and trouble in Sendek’s tenure. Coach Lowe has already shown that NC kids are an important cog in his philosophy (Johnny Thomas, CJ Williams, and even Tracy Smith). Te stability that these kids will create in addition to huge marketing boost fromt he last couple of weeks will serve Sidney well.
* Sidney became THE story over the last few weeks, which is much different than when Herb did this in 1997. College coaches are stars, they are mega-stars when they win big (Roy, K). Lowe has elevated himself in the national media tremendously over the past 4 days. His exposure and recognition factors have grown exponentionally – its not a Amex (K) or Coke (Roy) commercial, but the red jacket and Sid Lowe scored major points in the visibility factor.
* That will help tremendously in recruiting. We arent going to be stealing players from Roy and K, but many of those will at least look at Sid, and I think he’s already elevated himself to the #3 or #4 in the ACC in terms of visibility.
* Its funny, Gary Walters talked about the unbalanced Big 12 schedule on why Texas Tech got into the NCAA over K-State. I don’t give a shit about either team, but did the committee look at UVA’s unbalanced ACC schedule when they gave them a 4 seed despite their RPI that indicated they would be somehere around an 8 or 9 seed? They had the EASIEST schedule within the ACC. They completely folded down the stretch, losing to Miami, Wake and NC State in 3 of their last 4 games. (All 100+ RPI teams). Yet, they get a 4 seed? With an RPI if 52?
* Piece of advice – if you use a computer program (Yahoo, ESPN, etc) to track your NCAA Tournament brackets, ALWAYS re-check to make sure that your edits/changes have been saved properly. I made some changes to be bracket in SFN’s Yahoo Group that ultimately did not save. Of course, most of the changes would have been positive for me and would have put me tied for first place. Oh well.
* F- Wes Miller and Ty Lawson
* The ACC’s poor performance in the NCAA will hurt all of our checkbooks in the coming years. This is a GREAT article explaining he NCAA’s impact on ACC finances.
* Of course, what would a game day be without Section Six’s preview?
There is a certain amount of comfort that comes with playing West Virginia, comfort that is derived from this fact: the Mountaineers suck at rebounding just as much as we do. It’s like finding a familiar face in a foreign town. “Boy am I glad to see you!”
Those other teams, they’re tough. But not you, sweet, sweet West Virginia. Not you. You kindly offer opponents their missed shots while keeping none of your own for yourself.
When we played WVU back in early December, we had one of our best offensive rebounding performances of the season, grabbing 37% of our misses. Mountaineer opponents have posted an OR% over 40.0 eleven times this season (Wolfpack opponents have done it seven times). West Virginia has at least managed some improvement at the offensive end, upping its OR% from 21.3% to 30.4% this season. That’s still terrible, but it’s a step up from inept (and it’s better than our OR%).
With the two teams shooting and rebounding about the same in the first meeting, turnovers meant the difference. NC State turned the ball over 17 times (nine of those were Gavin’s) while WVU gave it away seven times