6-2 At the Turn

=====> NC State 66 Virginia 64
I’m loving the level (and the manner) in which our community conducts conversations here. This is a real nice discussion after last night’s win that talks about some micro and macro issues. It does a very nice job of putting the micro and the macro issues into concise perspective.

As excited as I am about surviving the strongest part of State’s ACC schedule with a 6-2 record, I think that Caulton Tudor is providing a fair and accurate reality-check when he labels this a “Bad win for State” And, Tudor is being very consistent in his comments; prior to the game he shared his expectations:

The Wolfpack should win this game by 15-20 points. That Virginia will make its ACC turn at no worse than 4-4 says a lot about the coaching job that’s been done by Dave Leitao.

Right now, he would win a league coach of the year vote in a landslide. He’s completely reversed the team’s defensive and rebounding intensity. But the Cavaliers have benefitted substantially from the generally weak condition of the league.

Other than Duke, there’s no compelling evidence that the ACC has another exceptional team. The Wolfpack aspires to that level. The first step in that direction is winning big at home over outmanned opponents.

Those pre-game expectations led to the following conclusions after the game:

And really, calling this one a bad win is giving State every possible benefit of the doubt. It was an awful win, a lucky win. A 10-point underdog entering the game, Virginia outplayed State almost throughout.

The win was enough to improve State’s record to 6-2 at the turn in the ACC regular season. That is also enough for second place in the league, but not good enough for the Pack to feel comfortable. The performance State delivered Wednesday had second-round NCAA elimination written all over it.

Tudor must really hate Herb to have those thoughts. (sarcasm)

=====> Flashback
Talk about a countrast…just for fun go back almost exactly 365 days to State’s inexusable loss to the Cavs and look at what was being said at the time. It’s called winning.

=====> Did you know that Billy Cunnigham was the Kangaroo Kid?
If you did not know this…then you have not watched an ACC Basketball this season.

What the hell is the deal with Food Lion’s “Legends of the ACC” during JP Broadcasts? It should be renamed, “Legend” of the ACC, because evidently Billy Cunningham, the Kangaroo Kid, of UNC is the only legend in the conference’s history.

I’ve been watching games all year and don’t know if I have seen a different player discussed. It’s exhausting. And pretty embarassing for Food Lion.

=====> Looking Ahead
I have said it all year — NC State’s talent, depth, experience, and components (2 athletic, senior guards) really should be able to navigate 13-3 or better in this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference race. At 6-2 with road games at Duke, Carolina, and Boston College behind us, I think that this record is firmly within our grasp. (I will refrain from shouting, “It’s about friggin time”!)

Although it is a common exercise amongst the fanbase, I don’t understand how so many fans arbitrarily choose numbers to decide what represents a good season for the program without some real thought and statistical benchmarking. A quick look at history indicates that there have been 13 ACC programs to achieve a 13-3 or better record in ACC play since Herb Sendek arrived in Raleigh. Maryland, Duke, Carolina, and Wake have all done it MORE THAN ONCE. (Sendek has achieved only 3 winning seasons in the ACC in nine years – with 11-5 representing his best record).

In light of these programs’ ability to achieve such a record (in obviously tougher ACC years), I do not know why NC State shouldn’t be expected to FINALLY succeeed on a similar level with our best team in a decade. Additionally, this year’s Wolfpack schedule includes only one game against Duke and no road game at Maryland. With this kind of schedule dilution compared to the strength of the league in the past when these programs were able to achieve their 13-3 or better…then there is no reason that it is beyond the realm of acceptability to FINALLY achieve something that four other programs have each done more than once.

A couple of weeks ago, I got into heated debates on Pack Pride’s Message Boards about this very topic. The amazing thing was that because I hoped/expected/could foresee some actual success for the program, I was lambasted by many of the Herb Sendek Sunshine Squad for expecting too much (in friggin year 10). It is truly amazing, but incredibly insightful into this group’s mindset. After ten years of NOT achieving high-water marks that five different ACC programs have been able to achieve in the same time period, this set of fans STILL does not think that NC State fans deserve similar success. Obviously, they never will believe that we should achieve successes similar to our peers.

But, I see a chance this season to finally create a season of national significance and I do not apologize for wanting it nor expecting it after almost 20 years of not having one and after giving this coach a decade to deliver one.

General NCS Basketball

123 Responses to 6-2 At the Turn

  1. Mr. O 02/02/2006 at 8:57 AM #

    Jeff: The point I made about your expectation of 13-3 or better is that you are setting the bar so high that somehow we should be disappointed with only 12 or 11 ACC wins. Regardless of our ACC record, the NCAA tournament is going to be our ultimate measure of success this year. I don’t see you being happy with 13-3 and a 2nd round exit.

  2. class of '74 02/02/2006 at 9:19 AM #

    The HSSS’s choose to ignore reality and facts. For the most part, their only points of reference are the Herb and Les years so I’m choosing to ignore their ignorance and just move on. They are devoid of reasoning at this point.

    Definitely our best season since V and wins be they ugly or whatever are greatly appreciated at this point.

  3. Jeff 02/02/2006 at 9:21 AM #

    I will NOT be disappointed in 12 or 11 ACC wins.

    But, I will not over estimate such a season’s significance compared to NC State’s history or what our peers have been able to achieve.

    Nor will I have one ounce of faith that we will ever be able to truly compete at a level deserving of a program with our resources and tradition under the current coaching regime.

    Do you realize that if we finish with 11 wins in the ACC and somewhere around 25 to 30 in the RPI that ACC programs in the Herb Sendek era will have generated approximately TWENTY seasons more successful than our MOST SUCCESSFUL SEASON?

    ^ That is what I am looking for this year. A “Most successful season” that competes with everyone elses so that we have a legitimate reason to have SOME form of hope and faith for future success.

  4. class of '74 02/02/2006 at 9:31 AM #

    ^I’ve seen NCSU basketball since 1962. I think I fairly reasonable and as nice as this season has been so far I’ve seen many seasons where I know we were better both in the ACC and nationally. But again 15 to 16 years of bad to fair basketball will put you in that mindset.

  5. class of '74 02/02/2006 at 9:33 AM #

    ^ should have been “I think I’m fairly”

  6. BJD95 02/02/2006 at 9:35 AM #

    The thought I had as I further dissected the game this morning was this – we don’t want to be this year’s Wake Forest. As objective observers, we all noticed that their February play was slipping. I’m sure many Wake fans would point to the conference record and similarly say “Just enjoy the ride!” But when March rolled around, the slump didn’t magically lift, and they were unceremoniously bounced from postseason, filled with regret at the missed opportunity. And as we now see from watching the 2005-06 Deacons, “next year” is no panacea to a missed opportunity.

    Some important distinctions – our lull is happening much earlier than Wake’s, so we have more time to correct it. We also don’t have a petulant star player (i.e., Chris Paul) disrupting team chemistry with his selfish antics at the worst possible time. But defensive problems are a common thread. Like the old saying “trust…but verify” – we can enjoy winning games while still objectively analyze what needs to be fixed in order to meet our goals.

    Even beyond the ACC – how many teams NATIONALLY are really great? UConn, Duke, Villanova, Texas. That’s my entire list, and none of them (except maybe UConn) are without some flaw or exploitable weakness. This is a damned fine year to make a Final Four run, especially with the verstaile talent and upperclassman leadership that we have.

  7. Mr. O 02/02/2006 at 9:39 AM #

    Jeff: So if we win 11-13 games and make the final 8, then would those results give you hope for our program with the current coaching regime?

    RPI is irrelevant to me. It is not an accurate measure of our overall success. We currently sit 13th in the Sagarin by the way.

  8. Zahadum 02/02/2006 at 9:43 AM #

    I agree that a 13-3 finish is a reasonable expectation. However, as far as Tudor’s pregame column goes, I know what he was trying to say, but as written it was an example of really bad logic.

    Look at it this way: if, as Tudor says, there is no evidence that we are an exceptional team, then it was unreasonable to expect us to beat VA by 20.

    So to say that we ‘should win by 15-20’, means that he must think there is evidence that we are an exceptional team.

    You can’t have it both ways, and be logically consistent.

  9. packbackers 02/02/2006 at 9:45 AM #

    I know about Duke and UNC’s success, but has NC State ever won 13 ACC games in it’s history? That’s a pretty high expectation, but clearly possible at this point. Anything over double digits has to be more than anyone was expecting when the year began without our best player and associate head coach.

  10. BJD95 02/02/2006 at 9:50 AM #

    Historically speaking, NC State was every bit as good as Duke and UNC. The only thing that tilted events in their favor was coaching – they each hired an all-time great (and UNC just got a second one), and we ran ours out of town at the bidding of the local newspaper.

    Also, it’s not just UNC and Duke that have done this. If Wake and Maryland can do it, there’s no freaking reason why NC State can’t. None whatsoever.

    Perhaps I’m in the minority on this, but I think Sendek is better off without Hunter. I really do.

  11. dan 02/02/2006 at 9:52 AM #


    I read the heated discussion last week, and your comments above. I think the problem is you’re drawing conclusions based on expectation without considering variance. I’d agree that 13 wins is probably a very reasonable expectation/maximum likliehood. HOWEVER, the variance inherent in ACC college basketball should give your expectations some context.

  12. Trout 02/02/2006 at 9:53 AM #

    12 ACC wins is the most by an NC State team. 1955, 12-2. 1959, 12-2. 1973, 12-0. 1974, 12-0.

    The most V had, playing a 14 game schedule, not 16 games, was 10 ACC wins in 1988 and 1989.

  13. Jeff 02/02/2006 at 10:00 AM #


    I think that the variance issue is more than compensated for by the variable components that work in our favor.

    The bulk of UNC, Duke, Maryland & Wake’s 13-3+ seasons came in years that the ACC played full round robins that didn’t include Miami & VPI diluting the schedule AND in years that the conference was definitely more difficult with more “really good” teams.

    IMHO, ^that – and the fact that we are in YEAR TEN OF TRYING – more than compensates for variance from 11-5 to 13-3.

  14. Jeff 02/02/2006 at 10:01 AM #

    12 ACC wins is the most by an NC State team. 1955, 12-2. 1959, 12-2. 1973, 12-0. 1974, 12-0.

    What that shows is just how bad we have been in the last 16 years.

    How different schools have won at least 12 games in the ACC since FSU entered? How many times has it happened?

  15. Trout 02/02/2006 at 10:02 AM #

    And for the record, the only other “Legends of the ACC” I’ve seen is Maryland’s Buck Williams.

  16. Jim 02/02/2006 at 10:02 AM #

    Maybe this is unrelated, but, when Wake plays BC, if Doug Flutie sits next to E. Williams’ mom, I honestly think the TV people would give them more airtime than the actual game action.

  17. BJD95 02/02/2006 at 10:02 AM #

    So, although we haven’t had 13 wins, we’ve clearly achieved that WINNING PERCENTAGE several times in the past. V clearly buttered his bread as a tournament coach. You just had to take some headscratching regular season duds as part of his overall package. Sendek doesn’t have that same legacy to fall back on.

  18. Jim 02/02/2006 at 10:05 AM #

    What do you mean? Herb has the “headscratching regular season dud” legacy.

  19. BJD95 02/02/2006 at 10:06 AM #

    ^ Good one. No “tournament coach” legacy.

  20. Trout 02/02/2006 at 10:06 AM #

    During V’s 10 years, 4 different ACC teams managed 11 or more wins during the ACC season. UVA did it 3 times, UNC 5 times, Duke once and GT once.

  21. Trout 02/02/2006 at 10:09 AM #

    ^ Herb does not have a “tournament coaching title” legacy. I think Herb is a pretty good tournament time coach. He is behind only Coach K in ACC Tournament success. He just has no titles.

  22. VaWolf82 02/02/2006 at 10:10 AM #

    He is behind only Coach K in ACC Tournament success.

    You should change “success” to “winning percentage”….they’re not the same thing. Herb is hell to play on Thurs and Friday….and not nearly so tough on Sat and Sun.

  23. class of '74 02/02/2006 at 10:11 AM #

    Herb’s biggest problem is we had V, Sloan and Case. Now those guys hung banners! And it did not take 10 years to do so either!

  24. Trout 02/02/2006 at 10:11 AM #

    ^ I thought I made that clear with the “no titles” part, but you are right. Winning percentage would be clearer.

  25. VaWolf82 02/02/2006 at 10:13 AM #

    we don’t want to be this year’s Wake Forest….and they were unceremoniously bounced from postseason, filled with regret at the missed opportunity.


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