Simply Outstanding

It’s hard to put into words how many demons have been exorcised, both today and also over the last few weeks. The payback victories against Wake Forest and Charlotte were nice, but it all would have been very hollow without today. Obviously, Julius Hodge as a senior avenging the heartbreaking 2nd round defeat of his freshman year has some great symmetry to it. But it was more than that – the slaying of the ghosts of Vanderbilt. Even the clueless, 7th string CBS announcers noted that it looked as if NC State might squander another double-digit lead in the final minutes. But NC State never surrendered the lead. Herb Sendek had become famous for calling time-outs to set up “final plays” that went horribly awry. But Herb Sendek wisely saved his last timeout for defense, and trusted his best player to make something happen. And perhaps most importantly, the legend of Julius Hodge is finally complete – to my knowledge, Julius Hodge had never made a game-winning, end-of-game shot during his illustrious career at NC State. But today, he made the biggest shot of his life, with a free throw added for emphasis.

Today, Herb Sendek earned the right (in my eyes, not that Fowler is asking) to come back in 2005-06, if he so chooses. Good job today, coaches and players, and best of luck next week in Syracuse.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General NCS Basketball

11 Responses to Simply Outstanding

  1. Bill 03/21/2005 at 1:06 AM #

    Aw, man… Don’t get suckered by one win. Next year is back to Herball.

  2. Alpha Wolf 03/21/2005 at 8:37 AM #

    Herb Earned that right when he got the team into the tournament against incredible odds. Honestly, who would have thunk on 2/14 that today, 3/21, we’d still be in-season and taking a look at what Wisconsin will throw at us on Friday night in the Sweet 16?

    Yesterday’s win against UConn was paved with a road win at Georgia Tech, a decimation of Maryland at home, paybacks to UVA, VPI and FSU. It was beating Wake Forest — and we were without our starting point guard too. All of those steps, they were on this road to where we are now.

    Fans love to blame the coach when the springs all fly ou of the clock. Whether State’s fanbase can universally congratulate Sendek for putting it all back together, not only that, but building a well-oiled machine *still* without its starting point guard remains to be seen.

    If we are the fanbase we say we are, then we do. I applaud your column, and join you in celebrating this win. 16 years is a long time — and a lifetime for our younger fans. Yesterday may have seen the dawning of the fourth great era in Wolfpack basketball. iven the team that returns next year, joined by the players joining the team, its reasonable to exepect a fifth straight NCAA.

  3. BJD95 03/21/2005 at 10:00 AM #

    I don’t agree that he earned that right just by making the tournament, because the “against all odds” part was of his own making (and I don’t mean that he should have been fired if he had lost this weekend, but rather that he should have been actively forced to find something else “behind the scenes”). One of the best things about the post-season run is that it silences the excuse-makers that want to whine about illness and injuries. This team has simply gotten its act together late, but that’s the nature of college basketball – there are numerous opportunities for late-season redemption, or as Wake Forest aptly demonstrated, late-season collapse.

    I always said that I didn’t care HOW Sendek got to the Sweet Sixteen this year – by playing to seed or pulling off upsets – so long as he did it. He’s responsible for bottom line results, and he did deliver them this year.

  4. John 03/21/2005 at 11:49 AM #

    Herb deserves credit for the way the team is playing right now. We have an excellent opportunty to advance to the great 8.

    Winning yesterday, doesn’t erase everything Herb has done in the past. It doesn’t change the facts as they were at that time. However, if he keeps winning, I’m going to continue to get more and more excited. I may even accidentally toss in a wait until next year. 😉

  5. Lee Cheyne(MD Fan) 03/21/2005 at 3:25 PM #

    Congratulations. I am happy to see that there is still justice in this world. The nut puncher is at home crying and the Nut punched is in the sweet sixteen. Enjoy this sweet trip that is the NCAA tourney, you will surely miss it when it is gone….

  6. GT 03/21/2005 at 9:27 PM #

    Herb is the man, everyone has forgotten that at one time this year the Pack could only practice with four healthy players. He also has three great recuits coming in next year. He also runs a squeaky clean program. He was also coach of the year in the ACC last year. Everyone has also forgotten the mess he first walked into when he arived at State. The one thing I always hear is fire Herb, never who will replace him. Things are only getting better. Go Herb

  7. blpack 03/22/2005 at 12:37 AM #

    Everyone can be happy for the next few days. Where this leaves us at season’s end we’ll see. I think you have to look at the body of work, but no doubt the team is playing great right now.

  8. Fletch 03/22/2005 at 10:55 AM #

    This is why you have to wait until the end of the season to comment on coaching performance. I expected the sweet 16 from this team at the beginning of the season. We are there.

  9. Dude 02/22/2006 at 11:22 PM #

    Did everyone just witness the typical Herb Sendek meltdown against UNC? I have watched this rivalry for many years, but it appears that the current coaching staff cannot exude enough confidence in the team to beat UNC. Herb is 6-0 against Roy Williams and this was an “off” season for UNC. I hate to think how bad we will lose next year, but I am sure it will happen.

  10. stu 02/23/2006 at 7:00 PM #

    Its one game guy. Yes it sucks to lose to to them again but, i think its obvious that Herb is getting better over the years and that he was only 32 when he took over the program. You should also know that Duke probably wouldn’t have the program it has if it wasn’t for Jimmy V. Yes the evil empire sucked at one point too and Mike K was at the helm. Jimmy stepped up for him and suggested that they stick it out with the young coach. So all i’m saying is cut the guy some damn slack. We will be fine.

  11. Dude 02/23/2006 at 10:39 PM #

    Yes, it is just one game. But when tournament time swings around, lose one game and you are out. My point is that if you can’t beat your arch rival late in the season, on your home court, when they are lower ranked,and they have a young team, you probably do not stand a chance come tournament time – that is where State is, was, and will be in the foreseeable future. So no, we will not be fine.

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