Gameday Headlines — Wolfpack at Devils

February 16, 2012

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Brett Friedlander (
Difficult stretch gives Wolfpack a chance to State its case

The fact that Gottfried still has State in the conversation this late in the season is an accomplishment in itself.

You have to go all the way back to 2005-06 – Herb Sendek’s final season – to find the last time the Wolfpack had 18 wins overall and was 7-3 in the ACC after 10 conference games.

And yet despite those glowing records and the fact that State has improved dramatically since the start of the season under Gottfried, something it rarely did in five previous years with his predecessor Sidney Lowe, we still don’t have an accurate indication of just how good this team really is.

Of its seven league wins, five have come against the unholy trinity of Wake Forest, Boston College and Georgia Tech – which between them have a combined 7-25 league record and an average RPI of 171.

Let’s face it, all the Wolfpack has really done to this point is put itself in position to do something special by fattening up on what might just be the worst three bottom feeders in ACC history. Now, the time has come for it to go out and do something special.

“It’s a big week for us,” Gottfried said Monday on the ACC’s weekly conference call. “Our players are excited about the opportunity that’s ahead of us and I’m sure they’re anxious to play this week.”

Scott Fowler (N&O)
Gottfried to be judged by UNC, Duke games

ACCSports Staff
Wolfpack Insider: Gottfried Making Solid Mark

In his first year running N.C. State’s program, Gottfried is trying to strike a delicate balance. He is aware of the school’s proud basketball history and willing to embrace it, as evidenced by the large, colorful banners honoring the 1974 and 1983 national championship teams that hang from a baseline wall in the team’s practice gym.

By the same token, Gottfried distances himself from the previous regime, which was in place for five mediocre seasons. With Sidney Lowe as its head coach, N.C. State never reached the NCAA Tournament or finished better than ninth in the ACC.

Whether it’s out of respect for Lowe or simply the easiest way to develop unbiased opinions about things such as personnel and structure, you almost expect Gottfried to go the route of former baseball star Mark McGwire and declare, “I’m not here to talk about the past.”

For Gottfried, it’s all about now and how the present can shape the future.

That calls for changing a culture of losing and re-working schedules to play tougher competition. It means getting the most from the talent at his disposal and attracting reinforcements so that State can challenge North Carolina and Duke with regularity, which hasn’t happened for more than two decades.

“As I watch and evaluate players, I know who I want, and I want to try to get them,” Gottfried said. “I don’t care who’s recruiting them, that’s who I’m picking. The fun part about recruiting is it’s competitive. It’s hard. We’ve all through the years found that diamond in the rough nobody recruited, all had one or two of those that have become great players, but day-in and day-out, you want to sign a good player, you better tighten your shoes real tight and go work.”

The confidence to not only stand toe-to-toe with Carolina and Duke on the recruiting trail but also possess a real belief that N.C. State can win enough of those battles separates Gottfried a bit from his predecessors. It’s part of a blunt and occasionally brash personality that makes him an interesting foil to Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams.

Bret Strelow (
N.C. State’s begins tough road against ACC’s top three teams tonight at Duke

As first-year coach Mark Gottfried tackles a rebuilding project at N.C. State, he can appreciate what Mike Krzyzewski has accomplished in 32 seasons with Duke.

Gottfried saw where the Blue Devils started.

As a high school senior, he and David Henderson took official recruiting visits to Durham on the same weekend early in the 1981-82 season, Krzyzewski’s second in charge. That Vince Taylor-led group finished 10-17, and the Duke of today might not exist were it not for the arrival of a loaded freshman class.

Henderson was part of it. So were Mark Alarie and Jay Bilas.

As for Gottfried? He picked Oral Roberts after the Blue Devils went in a different direction.

“They chose to go on another guard with the name Johnny Dawkins; I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him,” Gottfried said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Tonight, more than three decades after eating a Sunday breakfast with Krzyzewski and his wife, Mickie, in their Durham home, Gottfried will roam the sideline as a head coach in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke (21-4, 8-2 ACC) is a national power, ranked fourth in the country and considered a contender to win a fifth NCAA title.

N.C. State, meanwhile, is striving to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006. The Wolfpack (18-7, 7-3) is currently listed as one of ESPN “Bracketology” expert Joe Lunardi’s last four teams in the field of 68, a status corresponding with an opening-round game in Dayton, Ohio.
The Pack Travels To No. 4 Duke

NC State makes the trip down I-40 to Durham to face fourth-ranked Duke on Thursday at 9 p.m. Thursday’s game begins a stretch of six days in which the Wolfpack will face the ACC’s top three teams. The contest can be heard on the NC State Radio Network with Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes on the call. The game can also be seen on The ACC Network wth Tim Brando and Mike Gminski.

The game will feature the ACC’s top two three-point shooting teams with the Pack connecting on a .363 clip, while the Blue Devils have the top percentage at .392. The Wolfpack enters Thursday’s contest fresh from an off week following its 61-52 win at Georgia Tech last week and riding a three-game winning streak.


• Jim Valvano is the only NC State coach to win in his first game in Durham, guiding the Pack to a 52-51 victory over the Blue Devils 1981.
• The NC State starting five account for .804 percent of the scoring.

Jacey Zembal (
NC State controls tourney destiny

Jerry Palm, who is the owner and operator of and, has NC State among his final teams in the NCAA Tournament field, with a first-round play-in game against Xavier for the right to become the No. 12 seed. Ironically, the winner plays No. 4-seed Murray State, where Gottfried got his first head coaching job.

“NC State is kind of hanging on and hoping to crawl on to the bottom of the bracket,” Palm said. “They are going to need more.”

NC State controls its own destiny, even when it comes to winning an ACC title. North Carolina, Duke and Florida State, are all 8-2 in the league. The pressure to get a signature win over any of the three could define the season.

“It’s not expected to beat Duke or Carolina, but you can really help yourself a lot by beating either Duke or Carolina,” Palm said. “That is what happened to Miami. They were nothing, not even on the bubble. Then they beat Duke at Duke, and that’s a huge win.

“Florida State is a little more realistic in defeating or having expectations that you can win. That game would also help a lot. It would arguably be NC State’s best win of the season.”
Gottfried: “We Have To Defend Them”

“Their ability to shoot the three compliments their effectiveness inside. They make a lot of them and it puts a lot of pressure on your ability to help around the basket because they stretch your team out defensively on the perimeter.”

“Defending [Austin Rivers] will be a collective effort between all of our perimeter guys. There will be times throughout the game that each one of our perimeter guys will defend him. That’s not going to fall on one guy. That’s the way we’ve been most of the year. At times, C.J. Williams has done a great job. There have been times when Lorenzo Brown has stepped up defensively and guarded some really good players. It’s going to be a collective effort for us.”

“I want guys around me who are better than me. You look at great staffs, and you see the head coaches and former head coaches that are a part of those staffs. You bring in some great expertise in a lot of different areas. Our objective is to have the best staff in the country, period. That was my goal and Debbie shared that same goal. I never have thought about it in any other terms.”

“Probably the guy that I stole from the most was Calipari. As I watched, I liked the fact that there was one voice each time with the team. That doesn’t mean the other guys aren’t contributing, because they are. I have liked the way we’re doing with our assistant coaches this year. When you don’t get to see anybody else, and you are in your own program, that’s all you get to know.”

“You learn a lot about coaches in the summer time during recruiting because we’re all out in the same gyms together. I’ve always paid attention to people, I’ve watch assistant coaches that never watch the game, they sit up in the top and goof around and glad-hand everybody and then you watch some guys who are paying attention, they are studying players, they are really evaluating.”

“I always felt like that was Rob Moxley, Orlando Early and even Bobby. More than anything, I always had respect for guys who work hard at what they do. I always wanted to be that way. I hated it when my guys would go out and jack around in the summer time and not do their job.”

Rishav Dey (
Pack set to take on first place Blue Devils

Junior forward Richard Howell felt the team would try and impose its own style of play in the game instead of playing catch-up.

“I think whatever game we play, we will try and make them play, we don’t want to go in and try to predict what type of game that’s going to happen,” Howell said. “We just want to go out there and go as hard as possible.”

Howell, who is the fourth leading rebounder in the ACC, felt the Blue Devils would pose a different challenge altogether in that category.

“It definitely makes it a lot tougher but we don’t want to make any excuses,” Howell said. “We know there are going to be a lot of rebounds and we are dependent on our guards to get to grab those long rebounds. It’s kind of upon us to get those short rebounds.”

Rishav Dey (
The tough guy who makes everyone laugh

“He was about 6’8, 215 and he was probably one of the best players I had seen up till that point.”

That’s what N.C. State senior guard C.J. Williams had to say when asked to sum up what he thought of junior forward Richard Howell when he first got to know him.

In the Mark Gottfried era, if there’s one player who has established himself as not only one of the best players in the conference, but in the country, it has to be Howell.

At 9.2 rebounds per game, 11.4 points per game and a .505 field goal shooting percentage Howell’s a good player. But they do little justice to indicate the type of person Howell is.

“He is probably the biggest kid you will ever meet,” Williams said. “He loves to laugh and joke around and stuff. His laughter is infectious, he just makes everybody laugh.”

Junior center Deshawn Painter, who joined the Pack alongside Howell, said he was a great player but an even greater guy.

“We come from similar backgrounds,” Painter said. “We instantly clicked, but for the most part he is a hard worker. He has got a lot of heart.”

JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
NC State begins brutal stretch at No. 5 Duke

The Wolfpack’s current three-game winning streak came against Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech — the three teams at the bottom of the standings — and five of their eight ACC wins have come against those schools.

After the current three-game run against the league leaders comes another three-game stretch of toss-up games against Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech to end the regular season.

The challenge, Gottfried says, is to keep from looking at the schedule in terms of three-game clusters.

“There’s not a walk in the park left on the schedule. We know it,” he said. “And so what we can’t do is try to group three together. We truly have to be mature enough … to zero in on this Duke game. Then it’s a quick — we have 24 hours and we’d better get ourselves ready to play Florida State. Then after that, but I don’t think you can get ahead of yourself and, ‘Oh, what happens in these three?'”

There’s virtually no chance any of the Wolfpack is looking past Duke.
N.C. State hasn’t won at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995, losing its last 10 trips to that corner of North Carolina’s “Triangle,” and has only beaten the Blue Devils five times since that season.

“There’s a lot of streaks that I think we’ve inherited that need to change,” Gottfried said.

Duke Basketball Report
Next Up – State

Next up for Duke is State and while an entire generation of Duke fans has grown up taking State for granted, you’ll all soon learn what your elders have known all along: it’s a great program with great tradition. And as it’s roared back to life rather suddenly, you’d best not make the mistake of taking the Pack lightly. Those days are over. If the Pack isn’t fully back, it’s not going to take much longer.

What Mark Gottfried has done at State is pretty remarkable: he took a set of players who really weren’t pushed much or significantly challenged and he’s remade them.


It’ll also be interesting, in general, to see what Coach K does with Gottfried’s approach on defense and offense. He learned a lot from Jim Harrick, and while his personality may not have necessarily been stable, his teams rarely outsmarted themselves.

So far, for the most part, neither has State. They’re unselfish, they’re smart, and they’re now disciplined.

Duke faces another test vs. Pack

N.C. State (18-7, 7-3) stands right behind the leaders. Tonight, the Wolfpack seek to take a step similar to what Duke did at UNC by winning in a difficult environment.

“Well, they’ve done an excellent job,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the Wolfpack. “They’ve kept their team together well, so they kind of know one another. Their starting five is balanced. They’re well coached offensively and defensively.


Duke has used its time off to hone a play to stop N.C. State’s athletic ballhandlers, the type of players that have given the Blue Devils problems at times this season.

“They are a big team on the perimeter,” Duke associate head coach Chris Collins said. “UNC has a huge front line. N.C. State, when they throw out Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood and C.J. Williams, you have guys 6-5 and above that can all handle the ball.”

JOHN MARSHALL, AP Basketball Writer
NCAA providing glimpse of selection process

This season, the NCAA added a link to its website that ranks teams by RPI, including an expanded comparison of overall and conference records, strength of schedule and records against teams within various categories of RPIs.

There’s also a link for the team sheets of all 344 Division I teams, which break down the raw RPI numbers for every game on a team’s schedule — the same sheets the selection committee looks at when deciding which teams to include in the bracket.

The idea was to give the teams, fans and media a look at what the committee is basing its decisions on, though the numbers aren’t the only indicators they use.

“Certainly, you need to watch teams play and I think the majority of us see teams play on multiple occasions,” said Hathaway, who retired as Connecticut’s athletic director last year and is now an adviser for the Big East Conference. “That gives you some further insight. How a team looks is crucial and we get out and see games throughout the season. We need to go beyond the numbers.”


All-Access with Men’s Basketball

Go behind the scenes with Coach Mark Gottfried and the State men’s basketball team on a recent road trip.

Scott Fowler (N&O)
Video: How N.C. State can close gap on UNC, Duke

Scott Fowler discusses the impact that Mark Gottfried has had in his first season as N.C. State head basketball coach.

Riddick and Reynolds
R&R Podcast: Episode 38

Cliff Crawford, former NC State point guard from ’99-’03, joins us for both segments. He talks about the Georgia Tech game and helps us breakdown State’s huge game this Thursday against Duke in segment one.

In between segments one and two, an “impromptu” shooting contest breaks out between Cliff and Hayes Permar, show producer for the David Glenn Show. You can listen to the audio and see the highlights shot by Show Producer Chris below.

Cliff hangs around with us for segment two, which is kicked off with a discussion with a very special guest who happened to wander through the doors of Amedeo’s. We talk about Cliff’s project to give back, the “Youth First Movement,” and Cliff explains to us how difficult it can be teaching Julius Hodge how to drive a car.

Gottfried is hearing all about “the bubble”

CJ Leslie looks to match-up with Duke

CJ Williams on upcoming trip to Cameron

Rivers says this is a big rivalry too

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

11-12 Basketball Big Four Rivals College Basketball Mark Gottfried Multimedia

31 Responses to Gameday Headlines — Wolfpack at Devils

  1. BJD95 02/16/2012 at 8:21 AM #

    I was going to post a front page screed titled “Scott Fowler – Lazy Reporter, Asshole, or Just Plain Stupid?”

    Instead, I will just vent a bit in the comments here. Suffice to say that exactly three people thought it was a good idea to give Jake Delhomme $20M guaranteed after the playoff disaster vs. Arizona (even without that, it would have been really stupid) – Jerry Richardson, Marty Hurney, and Scott Fowler. That’s because he bases his “reporting” on access, so he doesn’t have to do any real work. So he will parrot the company line and/or conventional “wisdom.” Very much the antithesis of what we’re about at SFN.

    MG can go 0-3 against the blue and still easily get my COY vote. It’s about not backing down from them and being nationally relevant (that was where V succeeded, we loved him despite an abyssmal record against Dean). There’s nothing inherently “challenging” about playing the blues 3, 4, or even 5 times a year. It just helps your RPI, gets you TV exposure, and gives you a chance for great quality wins. And then you get placed in an NCAAT bracket far away from them (as conference foes).

    For the record, I love reading that MG “stole” a lot from John Calipari. Nobody in the business works harder than that guy, whether you like him or not.

  2. GAWolf 02/16/2012 at 8:45 AM #

    I came here to do the exact same thing, BJD! Same old tired garbage from Fowler. It’s mind numbing that he can even write the Sendek party line still and NOT include the fact that Sendek has proven to be maybe the worst coach at any major conference school. He’s getting legend-wait for it-dary, and not in a good way, to anyone willing to wipe the tired old crust of yesterday’s lies out of his eyes.

    Is that guy kin to Lee? Should be, if not. Every other article linked has more substance than Fowler’s crap and somehow that’s what gets top billing in our local paper.


  3. GAWolf 02/16/2012 at 8:46 AM #

    Nice work as always, Jiga. Thank you.

  4. wolfie91 02/16/2012 at 8:47 AM #

    Favorite quote:

    “As I watch and evaluate players, I know who I want, and I want to try to get them,” Gottfried said. “I don’t care who’s recruiting them, that’s who I’m picking. The fun part about recruiting is it’s competitive. It’s hard. We’ve all through the years found that diamond in the rough nobody recruited, all had one or two of those that have become great players, but day-in and day-out, you want to sign a good player, you better tighten your shoes real tight and go work.”

  5. tractor57 02/16/2012 at 8:48 AM #

    How to close the gap? As Al Davis always said – “just win baby”. How to make the NCAAT “just win baby”. The Pack may not be there just yet, this stretch of games will tell, but a pretty darn good start on the idea.

    I like that Gott is talking about the one game ahead. We as fans can develop all sorts of scenarios (as I’m sure Gott can) but the team should focus on the next game in the schedule.

  6. GAWolf 02/16/2012 at 8:56 AM #

    just curious….have y’all heard one single State fan say that they aren’t to this point please pink with Gottfried? Where on earth did Fowler get the idea that he’s not “all things to all people?”. The only thing he isn’t so far is someone willing to sit back and watch the blues soak in all the limelight. Gott almighty, thank you! If anyone isn’t happy about him being here it’s Roy and K, and a select few number of Duke and Carolina fans who don’t have their heads up their asses reading the propaganda spewed by local media.

  7. logarithm 02/16/2012 at 9:19 AM #

    I wanted to find something inflammatory to hate about Rivers but that’s a good interview. It’s going to take a lot of things going right and very few things going wrong for us to win this one but it’s possible and what a win that would be.

  8. newt 02/16/2012 at 9:35 AM #

    I didn’t bother with the FLowler pieace.

    Here’s my favorite quote: “There’s a lot of streaks that I think we’ve inherited that need to change,” Gottfried said.

  9. bluelena69 02/16/2012 at 9:52 AM #

    “Ideally, N.C. State fans would like a coach with the quick wit of Jim Valvano, the passion of Norm Sloan, the ingenuity of Everett Case, the five straight NCAA tournament appearances of Herb Sendek, the affability of Les Robinson and the red coat of Sidney Lowe.

    Oh yeah, and beat both Duke and North Carolina at least once per season, too…”

    I would actually attribute this last trait to Les. Although the guy couldn’t manage to beat anyone else, he his manage to do this once or twice per year.

  10. packof81 02/16/2012 at 10:29 AM #

    As I read the Fowler column, I was surprised that anyone would continue to trot out Sendek. If he believes Sendek is a good coach, he is an incompetent sports reporter. Otherwise, he’s a malicious, lying troll.

  11. tuckerdorm1983 02/16/2012 at 10:36 AM #

    duke is first in the acc in 3pt percentage and first in the acc in 3pt shots made. We are next to last in 3pt defense with only clemson being worse. If they come out nailing threes, then we might as well pack it in. I like our chances against the heels who have been shooting the 3pt shot quite poorly recently.

  12. Ashman87 02/16/2012 at 10:40 AM #

    I agree bluelena. That was one of the few things that I liked about Les. To illustrate this, Les had five wins against UNC in six years where as Herb had five wins against UNC in ten years, and four of wins came against Matt Dougherty, i.e. we were supposed to win.

  13. Wufpacker 02/16/2012 at 11:41 AM #

    All of us State fans are just so moronically unreasonable (and many of us unruly as hell…you know who you are). Thank goodness I read Scott Fowler’s piece (of crap) so now I’ll know if we lose tonight that I should be pissed off, and then we might as well not even continue the Gottfried experiment. It will be high time to cut him loose and take another run at Miller or Donovan.

    “..the five straight NCAA tournament appearances of Herb Sendek..”

    Hundreds of years from now, the only thing anyone is going to remember about HWSNBN is that he once took a team to five straight NCAA tournaments, and then got fired for it (yes, I know he wasn’t fired….doesn’t matter).

  14. JSRy2k 02/16/2012 at 1:03 PM #

    Gott’s comments on staffing are marvelous; finding people even better than yourself is key to success. And, his observations of assistants in the summertime are hilarious!

  15. IMFletcherWolf 02/16/2012 at 1:04 PM #

    I just want our program to compete with the best teams in the country. We should be “in the conversation.” If we are relevant, we will get our share of wins vs those other two teams in the Triangle.

    Tonight is our chance to make some noise in the conference. Make it happen!

  16. MP 02/16/2012 at 1:09 PM #

    The Technician, laying it on heavy!

    “In the Mark Gottfried era, if there’s one player who has established himself as not only one of the best players in the conference, but in the country, it has to be Howell.”

  17. WolftownVA81 02/16/2012 at 1:20 PM #

    I didn’t know Goffried was recruited by Coach K. That has to give him a little more incentive if he needed it. Count me as one of the Wolfpackers who are very please with the job this coaching staff has done so far. I’m also very proud of how our players have responded to the new regime. Go Pack.

  18. DC_wolf 02/16/2012 at 1:37 PM #


    “…beat those [email protected]#^ dookies… beat those [email protected]#^ dookies…”


  19. eas 02/16/2012 at 3:38 PM #

    Fowler – WTF does Gott need to be judged on his 1st year performance on these games alone? The judgement is already in and it is VERY positive. Best Record in 5 years WITH LESS TALENT! Not to mention Gott’s 1st year is being compared with HWSNBN 10th season record.

    No comparison at all….none. Gott is the closest thing we have seen in Raleigh since V. I mean how can you not be excited about Gott? He has good success already, excellent recruiting from day 1, handles the media with ease (thank you ESPN), has the players motivated, they work hard, honestly embraces the traditions and what the school brings to the table etc. To top it all off he has a personality that just matches our school perfectly. Confident, cool and fun.

    I just finished a cup of Kool Aid and I have some left if anyone needs a cup or two.

  20. Wufpacker 02/16/2012 at 3:54 PM #

    ^ Agreed.

    Everywhere in Wolfpack Nation, beaten wives and kicked dogs are breathing easier and easier everyday.

    I’m kidding, of course. State fans would never kick their dogs.

  21. bill.onthebeach 02/16/2012 at 3:59 PM #

    Don’t have time today to waste on ANYBODY whose last name is FOWLER…

    ’nuff said…

  22. WeAreCured 02/16/2012 at 4:16 PM #

    I can forgive people like Fowler because they are not fans and therefore have no idea what gamedays like today are truly like for us.

    Will it suck if we get crushed? Of course. Has today, even the past few days, been extremely exciting because of the possibilities? Darn tootin’. That’s what is important to true fans. The excitement of gameday against a rival, knowing you at least have a chance if you play well. It’s a fun change of pace, and people like Fowler can go suck it. He’s not going to rain on my parade.

  23. SuperStuff 02/16/2012 at 5:05 PM #

    I want to see us COMPETE and be in the mix every game. I’ve only seen one game this year that I thought we might have bailed on. Much better than the last regime. Gottfried is doing his job well in his first year. I don’t want to see another Wisconsin game ever again. That crap was embarrassing under Lowe.

  24. BJD95 02/16/2012 at 5:41 PM #

    I can’t forgive Fowler because he gets PAID to do his job, and he’s fucking terrible at it. But overall, the Observer sports page has gotten much better. Though I really only need to read Tom Sorensen and JP Giglio’s stuff.

    But we will get to beat Duke in Cameron, starting in just four short hours. It’s like waiting for Christmas morning!

  25. MrPlywood 02/16/2012 at 6:05 PM #

    Let’s go Pack! You can do eet!

    Of course the broadcast game feed I get up here in the great Northwest is BC @ MD. WTF? To the interweb!

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