NC State vs NCAA Tournament teams

Now that the season is over, and Duke has won the national championship for 2010, we can fully take stock of the Wolfpack basketball team and see how well they performed against NCAA Tournament teams.  As many of us know, this year’s team was 7-7 against NCAA Tournament teams. How does that compare to past years? As was discussed after Lowe’s first year as coach, we thought it would be a good time to look at the numbers. This time, we also will add an extra treat for comparison.

Here are the records for NC State against NCAA Tournament teams in the past 18 years (and before anyone asks why 18 years, that was my freshman year at NC State):

(SL) 10: 7-7
(SL) 09: 2-10
(SL) 08: 3-7
(SL) 07: 6-9
(HS) 06: 3-6
(HS) 05: 4-8
(HS) 04: 9-7
(HS) 03: 2-7
(HS) 02: 1-8
(HS) 01: 4-15
(HS) 00: 2-6
(HS) 99: 2-8
(HS) 98: 4-10
(HS) 97: 4-12
(LR) 96: 4-12
(LR) 95: 1-9
(LR) 94: 5-10
(LR) 93: 1-13

Winning Percentage against NCAA Tournament Teams

Note: Virginia Tech and Miami joined the conference in 2004-05 and Boston College joined the conference the following year.

The first thing that jumps out is the constant poor showing against quality teams that is shown across coaches, not one in particular. Only the 2003-04 Wolfpack had a winning record against NCAA Tournament teams. That season’s squad was the one non-bubble year for Herb Sendek while at the helm. A third seed was rightly awarded for that team. Unfortunately, that season’s team had an incomprehensible loss, even to this day, against Vanderbilt in the 2nd round.

Another finding is that the winning percentage seems to have two distinct time spans. The first one is 1993-2003. The second one is 2004-present. Outside of the 2003-04 season (the first year in the second time span), this could be interpreted as the newly expanded ACC and all that comes with it. More teams, the loss of the full home and home ACC schedule, etc. are plausible conclusions to the Wolfpack having a higher average winning percentage in the last 6 years.

Furthermore, this year’s squad was the only other team to not have a losing record against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. This record is somewhat pleasantly surprising given the general feeling that this team was probably the least talented Wolfpack team in about a decade.

Basically, what this shows us is that only twice in 18 years has the Wolfpack not had a losing record against NCAA Tournament teams.

For comparison purposes with Coach Lowe, here is the record of Arizona State versus NCAA Tournament Teams under Herb Sendek:

2009-2010: 3-6
2008-2009: 9-5
2007-2008: 7-8
2006-2007: 1-13

In four years, Lowe has an 18-33 record versus NCAA Tournament teams.
In four years, Sendek has a 20-32 record versus NCAA Tournament teams.

Overall not too much difference. However, when you look past the overall records you can see differences. Sendek has been 19-19 if you take out his first year. His second and third years were pretty good, at least compared to how he did in Raleigh. Lowe’s second and third years were pretty miserable while this year he compiled a .500 record. Meanwhile, it took Sendek 7 years to have a winning percentage of greater than 40%.

Did the Wolfpack and the Sun Devils have any common NCAA opponents in the past four years to compare results? Only once. This past year both teams played Duke. Duke beat Arizona State in the Preseason NIT in NYC while NC State beat Duke in Raleigh.

Out of those 18 years, there have been only 3 years where the Wolfpack have a winning percentage greater than 33% against NCAA Tournament teams. Two of those 3 years have been in the Sidney Lowe era, which either causes hope for the future, or reflects on a declining quality of coaching and/or players within this ACC expansion era. Hopefully he will parlay that into a winning record next year as the Pack looks to get back into the NCAA Tournament.

About ruffles31

1996 NC State graduate who is still waiting on his first ACC conference championship in any of the four main revenue sports (football, men's basketball, women's basketball, and baseball) since enrolling. All I want is a ACC Champions t-shirt.

06-07 Basketball 07-08 Basketball 08-09 Basketball 09-10 Basketball NCS Basketball Sidney Lowe Stat of the Day

28 Responses to NC State vs NCAA Tournament teams

  1. 61Packer 03/31/2010 at 10:36 PM #

    All I care about is State’s ACC record, period. Until it’s way better, the NCAA will remain a distant dream for Wolfpack fans.

  2. Wolfy__79 03/31/2010 at 10:37 PM #

    les -> herb -> sidney:

    les took the program after the violations, herb was a gamble and sid was a last resort (to most fans). the first thing that really comes to mind is that herb was here way to long. i’m actually impressed with what sid has done in comparison with les and herbs. in the nineties, unc/duke still had a strong hold on the ACC but i think they’ve had more of an advantage since the expansion.

    nothing that herb did at NC STATE is an accomplishment to me. it felt like he never beat carolina, duke always edged us out and he had no conference championships.

    since the additions of bc, vt and miami the quality of play in basketball has gone down drastically imo. look at how long it took fsu to get their sh## together. then the powers that be decide to add three nonexistant bball programs to the ACC? never made sense to me. they basically flooded our league with crap in exchange for football revenue.

    i have no evidence to back this up but i feel that sidney has what it takes to get to the top of the ACC. i also feel he needs a little help from a new assistant or two. but it’s just a gut feeling with sidney.

  3. StateFans 03/31/2010 at 10:55 PM #

    So, over the last 14 years the following are the three best winning percentages against NCAA Tournament teams:

    (1) 2004 Herb Sendek
    (2) 2010 Sidney Lowe
    (3) 2007 Sidney Lowe

    Now I am really confused!!

    Herb coached here 10 years and was one of the best coaches in the country!

    Sidney has been here four years and supposedly isn’t any good.

    How in the world does TWO of Sidney’s seasons our-perform NINE of Sendek’s ten years?

    Shhhh…don’t tell the media.

  4. WolftownVA81 04/15/2010 at 12:17 PM #

    Good info. If I wasn’t so jaded, I say this sort of looks like some improvement. I know we did improve in many ways this year, just not much in the W-L column. I’m just not feeling it dog.

  5. tvp1 04/15/2010 at 1:06 PM #

    Nice stats and observations.

    One thing that jumps out – it’s remarkable that we made the tournament in 02 and 03 with such poor records against tournament teams. (I take it you are not counting games in the tournament itself in these records?) That’s still further evidence supporting my belief that Sendek was a long way off from building a serious contender here.

    For comparison, here’s how the other ACC teams did against NCAA teams this year:

    Duke 8-4
    Maryland 5-6
    FSU 4-7
    Clemson 6-6
    Wake 6-4
    GT 5-8

    VT 3-4
    UNC 3-12
    UVA 1-8
    BC 1-9
    Miami 4-7

    Really interesting numbers here. We look to belong more in group A than group B. The flip side of our record this year was the unacceptable performance against non-tournament teams. The 0-4 record against UNC and UVA and the losses to NW and Arizona were killers. Just a split in those games would have had us at 20-11, 7-9 going into the ACC tournament, giving us a fighting chance at an NCAA bid.

  6. travelwolf 04/15/2010 at 1:35 PM #

    Great entry – and a good way to quantify improvement (or lack there of…). Finally, the numbers show what most of the “lunatic” fringe knew – that we deserve better than Herb.

    Let’s hope that things will get even better once next year’s recruiting class comes in. Honestly, things seem to good to be true… Something bad has to happen – someone important doesn’t qualify, Smith get’s injured, or who knows what. I just can’t imagine seeing NCSU as one of the top 4 teams in the ACC in a couple years. So, let’s stop this optimism right now so we won’t be disappointed when the hammer comes down (again).

  7. StateFans 04/15/2010 at 1:46 PM #

    NC State has a 32.8% winning percentage on an overall 41-84 record vs NCAA Tournament teams while Lee Fowler has been our Athletics Director.

    But never forget…he ‘knows basketball!!!’

    I guess it is a little more than just not being able to be as good as Duke and Carolina?

  8. Wisc-Wolf 04/15/2010 at 2:05 PM #

    Shows that this years team by the end of the season was better than a lot of teams that got at large bids to the tournament. The losses to UVA and UNC killed us as well as letting Clemson get away. Overall Lowe did a good job with this team and in my opinion has improved every season. Also, the younger players improved as the season went along which in the past has been missing.

  9. StateFans 04/15/2010 at 2:28 PM #

    ^ I love that perspective. It is very defendable and I try to share it.

    Of course the ‘turn around’ has been slower than we all wish. But, it all builds up to next season. It either happens and starts to click now; or it isn’t going to.

  10. ryebread 04/15/2010 at 2:50 PM #

    Great work on the original post. It reinforces some of my beliefs about our current and last two coaches.

    Les: Old Les could beat UNC (I’ve not checked but I’m guessing at least a couple of his 11 wins above were against UNC), but couldn’t beat anyone else. His teams provide that rivalry games really are wide open in the age of the 3 pointer.

    HWSNBN: load up on cupcakes, beat the bottom of the ACC, but not a real threat against anyone good, squeak into the tournament and then predictably fold (because they couldn’t beat anyone good). It was not just UNC and Duke (as Fowler would have one believe), but virtually anyone with a pulse. That 03-04 team was the ONLY HWSNBN coached NC State squad that made me feel confident that we could beat good teams. The loss to Vandy was still stunning and disappointing when one thinks about the talent disparity of those two teams. The rest of his teams were paper monsters who typically flamed out against decent competition. He stayed way too long with mediocre results.

    SL: SL can get his teams to beat anyone. He also can motivate his teams to play against good teams. The problem is that we are just way too inconsistent. We can (and do) routinely lose to bad teams and weak teams in the ACC. If SL were as successful against the cupcakes and lower conference teams as HWSNBN, his teams would have been dancing at least twice. I have a feeling we need some programmatic and systematic changes in order to maximize our potential game in and game out and to get the kind of consistency we need. Maybe the answer is improved players, but I think we’re missing some killer instinct as well.

  11. JEOH2 04/15/2010 at 2:52 PM #

    ^^ Exactly WW…and it wasn’t just the bad losses to UVA & UNC alone…it was the 7 game ACC losing streak that brutalized morale of us as fans…even two wins somehwere in there, and similar results in the ACC tournament I genuinely believe we would’ve made the NCAAs and the overall feeling on this team would be that more positive…

    Shoulda, Coulda Woulda… 🙁

    19 Regular Season Wins
    7-9 in ACC
    NCAA Tournament Bubble Going Into ACCT

  12. ruffles31 04/15/2010 at 3:15 PM #

    If you look at the data in another way, there is only 4 years where State has won more than 4 games against NCAA Tournament teams. Ouch.

    tvp1, I like comparing our record to the other ACC teams this year. We did belong in that top half. But it does show that we are inconsistent.

    Does this staff have a problem getting the boys ready and pumped to play teams that are on the same or lower level as they are? That is, does the team play to their opponents level most nights? If so, does that come back and bite them? It certainly did this year.

  13. WV Wolf 04/15/2010 at 3:22 PM #

    Nice work ruffles31, welcome aboard.

    I found it very interesting that our record against tourney teams jumped up some right around the time of ACC expansion and the elimination of the round robin.

  14. hball57 04/15/2010 at 4:17 PM #

    Some are pointing to our “bad losses” during the season. I think two things should be considered:

    1. Six of our losses were by one possesion, One was without our best player, one by a fortunite shot, and so on.

    2. We were the least talented team in the conference this year, without a player who could create his own shot.

    IMHO if we fixed #2 we would have won more of #1.

    So I find the initial premise of the post more as a positive than a negative.

  15. StateFans 04/15/2010 at 4:30 PM #

    As I frequently pointed out during the season…the Florida loss in particular (and also the Arizona loss) make HUGE differences in the regular season of ‘what ifs’.

  16. El Scrotcho 04/15/2010 at 4:32 PM #

    “Of course the ‘turn around’ has been slower than we all wish. But, it all builds up to next season. It either happens and starts to click now; or it isn’t going to.”

    I am actually looking forward to watching NC State play next year with good guards in the program. If Leslie signs, I’ll be downright ecstatic about next year.

    Of course Brown probably won’t qualify and Leslie will go to UK and I can go back to my hole and pretend we don’t play basketball.

  17. PapaJohn 04/15/2010 at 6:33 PM #

    Great stuff SFN, thank you! A little reason for optimism.

  18. spanky 04/15/2010 at 6:41 PM #

    “Of course the ‘turn around’ has been slower than we all wish. But, it all builds up to next season. It either happens and starts to click now; or it isn’t going to.”

    Well said and sums up my feelings quite nicely. I’ve been incredibly frustrated and would not have looked twice if Sid had been let go, but based on somewhat palpable turnaround it’s all or nothing next year.

  19. WolfEyes 04/15/2010 at 8:04 PM #

    We were also 1-6 against teams in the NIT this year. Two losses each to VT and the Holes, Northwestern, and UAB.

  20. coachkoh 04/16/2010 at 7:43 AM #

    I will say the win against Duke was very impressive and I will say Marquette as well was a good win. Beating FSU and Clemson and Wake were nothing to get excited about it. It certainly beats losing to them but given the weakness of the league as well as the ncaat I can’t get too excited about the 7-7 .

  21. StateFans 04/16/2010 at 8:40 AM #

    Since 1993, there has only been ONE season that NC State has won 7 or more games against NCAA Tournament teams (and one of the losses was on a 70 foot shot).

    I think it is more than fair to ‘get excited’ about that performance.

    Sidney Lowe has coached four years, he has turned in the 2nd and 3rd most wins vs NCAA Tournament teams of the last 18 years.

    That is commendable.

  22. Khan 04/16/2010 at 9:03 AM #

    Good work Ruffles! I have nothing to add, except to say that hopefully there is reason to be at least interested in next season as opposed to being completely apathetic.

  23. PoppaJohn 04/16/2010 at 9:44 AM #

    I heard an interview with Coach K during which he talked about the ACC this year, and how he still thought the ACC was pretty rough. He talked about the loss to State and said he thought State played an excellent game and he didn’t know if they could have beaten us that night, even had they been at their best.
    Nice to hear the current golden boy giving Sid and the boys some props.

  24. fernandopacker 04/16/2010 at 9:56 AM #

    If I were a rival coach I too would talk up Sid.


  1. NC State vs NCAA Tournament teams | StateFans Nation - 04/15/2010

    VB10oi Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

Leave a Reply