Revenge!! First Round Bytes

NC State beats the Cal Bears 58-52 and gets revenge for its 2003 first round overtime loss in Oklahoma City to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and battle Texas on Sunday afternoon at 4:45pm ET.

If you want to review many of the news reports, you can click here for a host of choices. Additionally, our own BJD did another fun “Live Blog” during the game. My most recent “Bytes” column can be found by clicking here.

NC State Irony
NC State wins an NCAA Tournament game in Texas by holding the opponent to 52 points. I seem to remember an NCAA Tournament game against a team from Texas that the Pack won by holding them to 52 points.

The Game
Here is the short version of what I saw last night:

(1) State FINALLY re-instituted Cedric Simmons into the offense. Golly-gee. Look at the results. I know. I know. It must be a real progressinve thought that a future NBA player who shoots 2 feet from the basket would be a high priority on offense…but, somehow last night it suddenly clicked. After Cedric got 18 field goal attempts at Duke in January, he averaged less than six attempts a game for the rest of the season. This is/was absurd. Cedric got 11 attempts in Friday night’s win. Surprise.

(2) State’s defense, particularly on the perimeter, was as good as it has been in a long time. Defense is about motivation…which is something that we haven’t seen much of this year. But, last night the team was a little more focused. To be fair, Cal’s offense sucked as they struggled with horrible spacing and very little motion. I don’t know if our perimeter defense was just that good, or if we benefited from them being so bad on offense. Either way, I don’t care.

(3) What was the deal with Herb Sendek FINALLY playing more people more often? Jeez. Why can Courtney Fells get key playing time in the NCAA Tournament first round but not smell the court during the entire regular season? Congratulations to Fells for being a key catlyst for the Pack in the first half when he nailed a three pointer in his first minute of playing time.

(4) I can’t make comments about the game without highlighting the play of Cameron Bennerman, who seems to always step-up and play well in Tournaments.

Importance of Ced
I thought that this entry at CBS Sportsline made some important points. Leon Powe means everything to Cal, and Cedric Simmons’ defensive presence meant the difference between a win and a loss last night. I just wish Sendek & State had been more successful in finding and utilizing true post presences in the past. I have no clue what the future holds for the Pack’s ability to attract good big men in light of Josh Powell’s situation and Simmons’ under-utlization the last two years.

Personal Irony
When State lost to Cal in 2003, I watched the game from a Dave & Busters in Austin, Texas (I was living in Houston at the time and often had business in Austin.) This year, State beats Cal in Dallas, TX by holding the Bears to the same amount points as the 1983 team defeated a team from Houston, TX, and will move on to match-up with the Longhorns from Austin Texas in the second round. I just thought that it was neat.

I thought that the CBS broadcasters really stuggled early. I gues that they did ok after they got settled in. Of course, the mistakenly introduced Herb Sendek as having been NC State’s coach for “thirteen seasons”. God save us. Do they know something that we don’t?

Additionally, CBS listed Sendek’s NCAA Tournament record as 5-5. This is correct when you include Sendek’s 1-1 record at Miami (OH). The CBS graphic probably should have been a little more specific.

Historical Note
Thanks to “scott” who shared this with us in the comments section below: The Texas game will be Herb Sendek’s 323rd at NC State, the exact number of games that Jim Valvano coached at State.

Apathy Update
FIVE years ago, I had the “pleasure” to sit down and talk about NC State’s Basketball program with Lee Fowler for over an hour. At one point in the meeting I made a self-depracating comment about Wolfpackers (and my) obviously high level of passion.

Fowler’s response was one of the only things he said that made sense and was to the tune of: “Oh..that’s a great thing. Nothing wrong with passion. It is when nobody cares; it is when we have the opposite that we have that we have a problem.”

Now, take a look at the comments from a person that attended the game:

Wolfpack Fans: With the exception of Melanie Sendek and crew, generally a bit lethargic. I think everyone was a bit reserved due to recent circumstances. Didn’t really get up much until Cam stuck the dagger in. But also difficult to get up too much given that there were only a few hundred people in the WPC section. Typically the nature at 1st round venues unless you get a top-seed location.

In the five years since Fowler shared his thoughts on apathy with me, he has so blindly, aggressively, and ridiculously supported Herb Sendek and criticized others that he can’t connect today’s reality with his supposed beliefs. But, I bet they sounded good to him when they were coming out of his mouth.

General NCS Basketball

7 Responses to Revenge!! First Round Bytes

  1. scott 03/18/2006 at 1:51 PM #

    Interesting historical note: the Texas game will be Herb’s 323rd at NCSU, the same number of games Jimmy V coached at State. Hopefully, it will be his last one as well!

  2. Astral Rain 03/18/2006 at 5:17 PM #

    Nah, I’m hoping for his 327th game to happen this year, then he quits for another job…

  3. Average Joe Fan 03/18/2006 at 6:14 PM #

    I really don’t get State Fans that want State to lose. I thought all of this “debate” was about what is best for the program and not about the man…

    I also don’t get how fans would want Sendek to leave even if he gets us to the Final Four or a National Final or a National Championship. I would like to see Rick Barnes coaching at State, but he only has ONE Final Four and 0 National Titles in his LONG coaching career—that’s how special those feats are…If Sendek were to do it this year, he would be equal with Barnes in that regard (and pass him if he made it to the NCAA Final). It is still a big IF for Sendek to do it and I would like to see a change if he doesn’t as long as that change is to a BIG NAME coach, but IF Sendek were to do it, then I don’t see how fans would not get over their hatred since, it that case, it means they simply hate Sendek and don’t want what is best for the program…

  4. Astral Rain 03/18/2006 at 6:23 PM #

    If Herb makes Elite 8 this year- I think all will be forgiven, at least temporarily. Hell, I think beating Texas will take some pressure off. Then again, if herb actually won the title- I think it would be weird as hell to see all the reactions.
    Then again, if he won the title or made the Final Four- State would get better recruits, and he’d win more by talent level.

    I’ll say this one thing in his defense: The higher your program gets, the harder it is to improve. There are very few coaches who would improve the program easily.

    (This is coming from someone who thinks he should be replaced)

  5. site admin 03/19/2006 at 8:17 AM #

    10th season and we still are talking about “ifs” and “whens”

  6. class of '74 03/19/2006 at 8:53 AM #

    ^And if he stays another 5 years we will be saying the same things and probably add to those “wtny” too! But then some folks are satisfied with 4th or 5th place in the ACC and one or two NCAAT wins a year forever. I just wonder if they are the same folks that never discipline kids or never expect their kids to score A’s in school. I suspect it’s the same crowd.


  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » Herb Probably Got this Guy Fired - 03/05/2007

    RdYIlm I loved your article post.Thanks Again. Will read on…

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