Friday in the ACC

Survive and Advance
The Wolfpack did what we had to do – we beat Florida State (again). Thank God for Florida State. I don’t know how we figure out a way to get matched up against the Seminoles in the first round (3 of 9 times), but I’ll take it. (Now, if could just find a way to play Georgia Tech in the second round!)

Bubbleology follows this entry on the blog. Nothing other than UAB’s win over DePaul worked against the Wolfpack in the later afternoon and evening sessions. It couldn’t have worked out much better for State.
If the tournament started today, the Wolfpack would be in. As of today, I would estimate that we may not even be one of the “last four in” and may even have earned an 11 seed. (Oh goodie!!! We’ve come so far!!!!). That said, a loss today and out position would be some jeopardy. A win, and (because of how everything else has developed) we will probably be able to somewhat rest easily.
Vanderbilt and Texas A&M both lost in the evening.
Georgetown could have clouded the bubble for the Pack. They didn’t.
— I told you to watch out for Memphis in the C-USA Tournament.
— I wonder if Indiana even wants to take the floor today. They probably experienced the most benefit of anyone yesterday.

NC State fans are already busy setting up their excuses because Tony Bethel may be out today. I guess that makes some sense to someone in light of the fact that we’ve done so well against highly rated teams with Bethel in the lineup (sarcasm).

I really wish our fan base was not so full of losers who constantly look for excuses as opposed to the old State attitude of wanting to, and believing that we could take on the world. Let’s hope that our players don’t focus on what we don’t have in the manner that our fans and leaders so often do and exhibit an Ability to Bounce Back.

I wish just once I could hear something like Dick Vitale’s comments last week on Rick Barnes and the University of Texas when he said, “You know what I love about the Texas kids? It starts with their coach. They never made an alibi and excuse when they lost PJ Tucker academically and Aldridge with an injury. He said, ‘We’ve got enough players. I give these guys scholarships. It is is their time to respond.”

Home Court Advantage
I apologize. I was working yesterday and didn’t get to hear Gary Williams’ post game comments about the home court advantage that the Big Four schools experience at the ACC Tournament. Tell us more about it, Gary?

I would LOVED to have had an all Big Four semi-final in Washington. Carolina, Wake and Duke are seeded 1, 2, 3 and are well positioned for the semis. Unfortunately, NC State couldn’t position ourselves well enough to make the dream a reality. Our 7th seed means that either us or Wake will make the Semis.

Wolfpack Fan Frustration Evident in DC
The Wilmington Star shared some interesting quotes in today’s paper:

A few hundred feet away, a group in the stands didn’t share that optimism.

Entire clusters of seats sat empty — something unheard of at the ACC tournament. Those in attendance sat quietly while State pulled away to a 24-point lead. Some left the game while time remained and Florida State was in the midst of an ill-fated rally. They didn’t even stand and cheer many times when their band played and their cheerleaders took to the court.

It was the N.C. State fans.

With their team making a push for its fourth consecutive NCAA berth and that hope resting on these games, one of the ACC’s most rabid fan bases looked like they were watching their team lose.

For many of them with other agendas, they may have been.

The empty seats, some fans believed, were a silent protest against embattled Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek, whom many fans — three quarters of them by one fan’s estimation — would like to see replaced.

It’s no secret that Sendek’s future at N.C. State has been on tenuous ground all season. Fans’ frustration with Sendek’s mostly mediocre tenure temporarily cooled as the Wolfpack won 21 games last season and finished second in the ACC, but boiled over once again when the team failed to reach lofty expectations this year.

But rarely has that frustration been as obvious as Thursday.
While individual fans asked not to be identified, their message is unified. They speak of apathy with the program and question the ’Pack’s lack of NBA-caliber players while other ACC programs load up on them. And while they say they support the players, fans question the program’s direction and openly wonder if finishing second in the ACC before getting ousted in the NCAA tournament’s early rounds is the best they can expect under Sendek.

They’re frustrations heard often this season in casual conversations and on Internet message boards. But the empty seats in the MCI Center placed their message on an abstract billboard.

Those seats require thousands of dollars in lifetime donations just to gain eligibility to purchase, according to a Wolfpack Club employee. But fans left perhaps a quarter of them vacant Thursday, and some who remained believed that the seats had been sold to non-Wolfpack fans who gladly paid a premium price.

Despite a blowout that at times brought out the best in State, its cheering section held the ambiance of a mausoleum, its fans tuckered out from constantly riding the edge of being just good enough.