Game Day!!

Earlier in the week, a Carolina student posting on Inside shared that many of his friends were considering taking the following sign to tonight’s game in the Dean E. Smith Center. I can’t much blame him since Herb Sendek is only 5-13 against Carolina despite the fact that Carolina employed four different coaches in Sendek’s first 8 years at NC State. (So much for that old “Continuity” theory, eh?)

Tar Heels support Sendek. Is it a surprise since they are 13-5 vs the Pack despite going through 4 coaches during Sendek’s tenure, includes the Doherty era?” />

After Roy Williams inherited a team that had failed to make the NCAA Tournament for two years in a row and immediately went 2-0 against EASILY the best team that Herb Sendek had ever fielded, who could blame the Carolina students for supporting Herb? But, alas…how dare NC State fans ever think that we should have a record better than 5-13 against the Heels over a period where they employed 4 coaches in an 8 year period that included the unveling of our $166 million new arena.

I’m sure things will continue to get better “next year”. Of course, I need a little help to understand how Sendek’s long-term winning percentage of only 22% against Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and Maryland will magically begin to improve…but, I’m sure someone out there can help me understand.

Sendek ACC Regular Season Win Loss %
vs. UNC/Duke/Wake/UMD 14 50 22%
vs FSU/GT/CU/UVA 41 23 64%
Total 55 73 43%
General NCS Basketball

12 Responses to Game Day!!

  1. JB34 02/03/2005 at 11:07 AM #

    Two programs, two directions
    Austin Johnson
    Technician Online

    Not so long ago, things were very different for the baby blue and vibrant red.

    In 2003, Carolina was making a run through the NIT before Georgetown ended its hopes of winning an honor that no one cares about.

    N.C. State was making a run in a different tournament, coming up one British sharpshooter short of advancing in the NCAAs.

    After the season, dissent among the Tar Heels became so great that they ran coach and former player Matt Doherty out of town and began another search for a coach. Doherty had improved a team that lost 20 games the previous season, but Rashad McCants realized he was “BORN 2 BE HATED” and complained enough in his goth-like, self-loathing-yet-arrogant writing to get him fired.

    The Wolfpack was on the rise. The Heels were in disarray.

    But, hey, what a difference a Roy Williams makes.

    Yes, the same man that had uttered possibly the greatest phrase ever heard on live television — you’ll have to look that up if you don’t remember — took over the reigns of the Heels after that season.

    Carolina advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his first year before losing to third-seeded Texas. Now, the Tar Heels are the No. 2 team in the nation and have shown the ability to literally run away from opponents.

    “They are playing as well as anyone in the country right now,” State Coach Herb Sendek said. “They are a great basketball team.”

    Early in the conference season, the Heels tore apart teams at home. They beat Maryland by 34 points, then beat Georgia Tech by 21. Most recently, the team has taken its act on the road, dismantling Virginia by 34 points in a game that was nowhere near that close.

    Prognosticators have already penciled in North Carolina for an April visit to St. Louis, an assumption that isn’t far-fetched. The team has speed, a competent big man, a go-to scorer, a heady point guard and solid role players.

    Meanwhile, State is floundering in its ninth year under Sendek. Despite another step forward last year – a second-place conference finish – State again came up short of reaching the Sweet 16. With two championship banners in the rafters, just making it to the dance isn’t enough for fans.

    This year, the team has taken a large step back. In January, it actually took a tremendous step backward by losing to teams like Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami. These are teams that the elite might lose to once in a season, but certainly not three times in the first half of play.

    In two years, Roy Williams has done what Sendek has not been able to accomplish in nine — build his program into a national power. The comparison is unfair based on what each coach inherited, but it is a comparison that has been and will continue to be made because of the similarities between these two programs. Both have more than 10 ACC titles. Both are part of the elite club of schools that own multiple national championships.

    This season was Sendek’s chance to show consistent greatness, with the team ranked in the top 15 to begin the season and the possibility of making a fourth-straight tournament. But it seems like everything has gone wrong with State since it visited Madison Square Garden in late December. Now the Pack is out of the NCAA tournament talk and has a losing record in the last month.

    “It does seem uncanny. One of our greatest challenges this year has been trying to establish some kind of continuity in practice,” Sendek said. “We went to New York, and since that point, our team has yet to be whole again.”

    The Pack still has a chance to turn the season around. It starts tonight at Carolina, a win that would erase a lot of the bad taste from the January losses. But it doesn’t end there, as the Pack would need to be as hot in February as it was cold in January to get an at-large bid.

    Just like State could turn it around, Carolina could still collapse. Any team with McCants on it is one “I am the most criticized athlete ever” tantrum away from turmoil and losses.

    Their man in the middle, Sean May, listens to Michael Jackson, Nickelback and Vanessa Carlton before games. If that doesn’t scream “soft,” I don’t know what does. There is a 50 percent chance of having another season-ending injury based on his music choices alone.

    The magnificent thing about college basketball is that you have plenty of chances. An ACC Tournament rally sends you right back to the tournament, where anything can happen. If you don’t believe me, just ask Lorenzo Charles or Dereck Whittenburg.

  2. JPS 02/03/2005 at 12:25 PM #

    What I find remarkable is that Sendek, with generally better talent that Les Robinson, still has the same number of wins against UNC in 8 years that Robinson had in six. UNC was much stronger then, too. And Sendek has had 8 more shots against the heels than Robinson had. Their respective records vs. UNC:
    Robinson: 5 wins, 7 losses — 0.42 win perc.
    Sendek: 5 wins, 15 losses — 0.25 win perc.

  3. Reynolds Rocks 02/03/2005 at 12:48 PM #

    I also find the record remarkable. However, it is a record that is easily explainable.

    Les Robinson – as bad of a coach as he was – was a Wolfpacker. He understood the importance of certain games like Chuck Amato does. Les was able to create and feed the emotional importance of the Carolina game and create magic for at least one night a season.

    By contrast, Herb Sendek chops wood. Every game is the same. And, his players (don’t) fight with that same kind of emotion.

  4. BJD95 02/03/2005 at 1:42 PM #

    I’m convinced that Dean must have taken a few dives against Les. There’s just no other rational explanation.

    The blue Sendek sign is nauseating. Seeing it live should be an affirmative defense for murder.

  5. Trout 02/03/2005 at 1:45 PM #

    Norm Sloan was was 14-22 against UNC. Valvano was 7-18 against the Heels.

    Personally, I want to beat UNC as bad as the next guy, but our record against UNC, to me, is trivial compared to the overall status of our program.

    Les beat UNC 5 times in 7 years. V beat UNC 7 times in 10 years. Which program would you have rather have, Les’ or V’s. I would have traded a few Ws over UNC during Les’s years for a NCAA appearance. Our program under V was a consistent NCAA team, with the occassional team that could threaten to win the ACC and the NCAA. That is what NC State needs to become, regardless of what UNC does.

    Irregardless of what UNC does, NC State must elevate thier program. If UNC is #1 in the nation, that doesnt change the fact that NC State needs to become more of a national player.

    I agree with JB that Herb has not done a good job of beating the upper echelon ACC teams. However, I think to many of our fans, beating UNC is the end-all, be-all. I dont see it that way.

    If someone would tell me, right now, that our next coach, or Herb Sendek, would be 7-18 against UNC over the next 10 years, but win 2 ACC Tournament championships, have 1 Final and NCAA Title, 1 Sweet 16, 2 Final 8s and 2 Regular Season ACC Titles, I would say WHERE DO I SIGN.

  6. JPS 02/03/2005 at 2:18 PM #

    Trout, if you’ll recall, V lost his first 7 games against the ‘heels — six of those in 1981 and ’82, when UNC was National runner-up and National Champions. In general I agree with your post, but rivalry games are important, too. But sure, I’ll gladly sit through 7 straight losses if they’ll be followed by two straight wins leading to ACC and NCAA titles.

    My point was not to look back fondly on the Les days, just to express real surprise that even Herb still hasn’t surpassed the Namesake of the ACC Play-In Game in victories over our arch rival, even though he’s played eight more games against them than Les.

  7. JPS 02/03/2005 at 3:15 PM #

    Also, Les and Herb have the same number of wins against Duke. Same deal, though — Herb has had eight more shots against Duke than Les.
    Robinson: 3 wins, 11 losses — 0.21 win perc.
    Sendek: 3 wins, 19 losses — 0.14 win perc.

  8. Trout 02/03/2005 at 3:39 PM #

    I dont like getting into this Herb and Les stuff. But since it is out there, Les got 2 of his wins against Duke teams not coached by Coach K. Herb also has more shots against Duke because his teams have advanced to play Duke in the ACC Tournament at least 4 times in his 8 years. He has lost all but one of these. (One of these losses was not a result of advancement – Duke beat NC State in the 1st round of the ACC Tournament in 2001).

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