Tournament Factoids Part 4: Universal Truths

Some time ago I wrote a brief entry outlining a few factoids about NC State’s history in post-season, post-conference tournament play.  When you look at the rich history and tradition NC State has, it becomes quickly apparent that a quick-and-dirty review of NC State’s tournament past really doesn’t do NC State’s basketball program justice.  NC State is one of the most heralded programs in college basketball.  It’s history deserves a bit more attention by it’s fan base.  For that reason, I want to expand on what I started a few days ago with a deeper, more detailed look into the program.  Rather than barrage the readers of SFN with a 10,000 word essay, we’ll take this in bits and pieces by first looking at the program chronologically, then picking apart a few overall observations.  Join us over the next few days until NC State’s Sweet Sixteen match-up against Kansas this Friday at 10:17PM.

If you didn’t see yesterday’s article on “The Early Years“, please take a moment to honor the accomplishments of those that are so often over-looked.  Make sure you also review NC State’s accomplishments during it’s “hay-day” from 1974 until 1989.  Finally, read up on the “Generation-Long Rebuilding” of NC State’s basketball program in post-season play.

Despite NC State’s up’s and down’s, it still remains a perennial top-25 basketball program of all-time.  It is also 1 of only 14 schools across the nation that have more than one national title and 1 of only 7 schools that can attribute their National Titles to more than just one good coach.  Several trends are worth noting between 1947 when NC State first appeared in the post-season game until 2012.

Beating Who You’re Suppose To Beat.  Since seeding began in 1980 in the NCAA tournament (and much later in the NIT), NC State has participated in 15 seeded tournaments.  Only 4 of these tournaments has NC State been knocked out by a lower seeded team (1980, 1982, 1988, and 2004).

 Upset Central.  During the 14 seeded tournaments NC State has been to, they have upset at least one team in half of them.  In 3 of the 14 post-season tournaments, NC State has had to upset multiple teams before existing the tourney.  The most upsets NC State has ever run in seeded tournament play is 4 in 1983.

Tournament Totals.  NC State has been to 34 tournaments over a 65 years.  That’s one tournament every two years.  A total of 25 tournaments have occurred in the last 38 years which is 2 tournaments every 3 years.

Proper Planting.  After seeding, NC State spent 9 out of the 14 tournaments seeded in the top half of the field.  Seven of those 9 occurred over 20 years ago.

A Level Playing Field.  If we placed the expanded tournament teams in the same mold as those prior to seeding, 7 teams from 1980 until present may not have made the 23-25 team tournament: 1982 (28th-ish overall), 1987 (44th-ish overall),  2002 (29th-ish overall), 2003 (37-ish overall), 2005 (41th-ish overall), 2006 (41th-ish overall), and 2012 (42nd).  Out of these ‘out’ teams in the old model, obviously ignoring the conference champion criteria, only the 1982, 2002, and 2003 teams would have made the NIT.  In this hypothetical scenario, Valvano’s tourneys would drop from 8 NCAA and 1 NIT appearance to 6 NCAA and 1 NIT appearances (from 9 tourneys to 7 tourneys in 10 years).  Sendek would have been hurt much more dropping from 5 NCAA and 4 NIT appearances to 1 NCAA and 2 NIT appearances (from 9 tourneys to 3 tourneys in 10 years). 

The Administration Connection.  Prior to NC State’s national championships, Roy Clogston had served a 21 year tenure as athletic director at NC State.  For his tenure, Willis Casey served multiple roles within the athletic department, eventually taking on the directorship himself for a 17 year tenure.  In the 26 years since, NC State has held 5 different athletics directors.  Is it a coincidence that high turn-over and instability within the directorship at NC State coincides with NC State’s decline from basketball dominance?

This series is going to end on that last factoid.  NC State University has a tremendously rich and accomplished history.  It truly is a shame that the up-bringing of an entire generation has been marred with poor results that cast a fog over what happened decades ago.  Programs such as this can’t survive on a legacy of talented coaches or on tradition alone; they need competent leadership and a supportive university to sustain their achievement.  Much talk has gone on this post-season regarding NC State and where they are headed over the next several years.  Some may argue that NC State has been to the Sweet Sixteen before, had a 20-win regular season before, and shown signs of life before, only to fall back into their 20-year slump.  What those some don’t realize is that for the first time in decades, NC State has an administration that is aware of this history, these ‘factoids’.  They are also aware that achievement starts with them.  It doesn’t start with the coach search firm, with the recruits, or with the sales pitch to the donors; it starts with the decisions they make and their willingness to fight for NC State.

For the first time in a long time, NC State’s administration has the look and feel of an institution with some longevity, something we haven’t had since the mid 1980’s.  Here’s hoping for a return, not to some glorious place that we only dreamed of, but a return back to where we rightfully belong.

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23 Responses to Tournament Factoids Part 4: Universal Truths

  1. pman27 03/22/2012 at 10:10 AM #

    Interesting point about AD churn and the lack of sustained leadership. Makes me wonder what might have happened if we’d hired an accomplished AD after Casey rather than giving V the job. That AD might have helped State and perhaps even V weather the tickets/shoes “scandal”, or at least made stronger hires after V and Sheridan.

  2. Gene 03/22/2012 at 10:23 AM #

    “Funny” thing about Yow is Maryland fans weren’t happy with her and was glad she left.

    I personally think Yow is awesome and wished we’d hired her years ago, even if her big sis’ was a coach here.

    “Makes me wonder what might have happened if we’d hired an accomplished AD after Casey”

    I don’t know. If the BoT and Chancellor weren’t going to get V’s back, a strong AD and/or Valvano would’ve been sacrificed to save face. It takes more than a strong AD to weather the kind of crap NCSU had to deal with. You need a coordinated, dedicated and disciplined effort by the entire Administration to manage that kind of damage control. See UNC-CHeat as a case study.

  3. Wufpacker 03/22/2012 at 11:15 AM #

    Agree with Gene. Regardless of who was in the AD office at the time, the BoT was cutting them loose to install whomever they and/or their puppets wanted in. It’s time we called all that crap what it really was….a coup d’etat.

  4. NCSU84 03/22/2012 at 11:39 AM #

    I was in agreement with NCSP, until the very last statement ‘where we rightfully belong’. I do not think winning is a ‘right’, it is something that must be achieved through hard work and effort. The statement exudes a degree of arrogance that we expect from the blue schools. We can win , and win the right way by earning it – not perceiving it as a god given right. It is the hard work ethic, not blue arrogance, that endears us to our fan base and sets us apart. Let us never lose sight of that fact.

    NCSP: See Old13’s post below. It has absolutely nothing to do with entitlement; it has to do with a reasonable use of resources.

  5. Hawkeye Whitney 03/22/2012 at 11:49 AM #

    Well put NCSU84. Even when we are really good, we are a different fanbase than our neighbors…..much more appreciative, much less arrogant, and solidly behind our team even when we’re not happy. I am hoping that hard work and an appreciation of what it takes to succeed puts us on top, and I am hoping that complacency and arrogance sinks the other guys.

  6. old13 03/22/2012 at 12:07 PM #

    “I was in agreement with NCSP, until the very last statement ‘where we rightfully belong’. I do not think winning is a ‘right’, it is something that must be achieved through hard work and effort.”

    I don’t think he’s talking about entitlement, but, rather, judicious use of resources at hand by competent leadership. And NCSU certainly has the resources from all perspectives, including a VERY passionate fan base, to be “champions on the field, in the classroom, and in the community” IMHHO! The Wolfpack rightlyfully belongs because it IS capable and needs only to realize the potential through hard work and effort, which seems to be happening.

  7. freshmanin83 03/22/2012 at 12:23 PM #

    People as a general rule are a lot more similar than we like to believe.

  8. bill.onthebeach 03/22/2012 at 12:47 PM #

    … keep digging and you will get to the bottom of this. Admin.Problems may have started brewing in late 70’s after 1st championship and Dr. Caldwell retired….

    On the other hand, some things probably ought to stay buried…deep.. if for no other reason than respect for the dead.

  9. YogiNC 03/22/2012 at 2:42 PM #

    A few statements made me wonder… what would the unx fan base look like had they gone through what we went through. And make no mistake some of what we went through was at their and them that’s with ’em’s hands. I’d dare say if the shoes were on the proverbial other foot we might look like them. That we is an all inclusive ‘we’ and does include the tin foil hats wearers and the truly lunatic fringe. But ‘we’ will never know unless a role reversal occurs, and the way the stars are lining up in 15 years or so it “could be”. All it would take would be for K’s and Roy’s successors not to be as successful. I hope I live to see it!!!

  10. tractor57 03/22/2012 at 3:20 PM #

    bill – agree there were cracks after Chancellor Caldwell retired.

  11. tuckerdorm1983 03/22/2012 at 3:58 PM #

    LISTEN EVERYONE. I just befriended Amile Jefferson on Facebook and he accepted me. EVERYONE AT STATE FANS NATION should send him a request now because in a short while he will make his decision. I never thought he would accept me, but he did. DO IT NOW!!!!

  12. Hungwolf 03/22/2012 at 4:07 PM #

    Willis was a great Ad, not all his hires worked out but he certianly knew how to pick some real gems from small colleges cause he saw their potential. I believe he hired Lou Holtz, Bo Rein, Dick Sheridan, V, and Kay Yow. One thing forgotten about Casey was he was a coach also, he won at least ten ACC titles as swim coach, something he was very proud of.

  13. Hawkeye Whitney 03/22/2012 at 4:19 PM #

    I think we should all be cautious when it comes to reaching out to recruits, even through social media. We are all boosters to some extent, and most of us members of the Wolfpack Club, I’m sure. Some communications and especially anything that could be perceived as any sort of a promise could end up hurting our University.

    See the link below:

  14. tuckerdorm1983 03/22/2012 at 4:32 PM #

    you think it is a mistake? I never said anything to the kid or promised him anything. How could I? What does it hurt to show enthusiasm? I only said “I hope you come to Raleigh”. I am not affiliated with the university or the athletics department or a member of wolfpack club. I can’t see the harm in it.

  15. wolfwarrior 03/22/2012 at 4:56 PM #

    AD WC (1969 – 1986) was a kerolina graduate; let that sink in for just a moment and just imagine a State grad running the kerolina AD office. Wouldn’t happen in a million years!
    AD WC ran off MBB HC Norman Sloan (3 ACC titles, a National NCAA Title winner, former player for EC and State graduate. A decade later, after three ACC titles and the school’s first national championship, Sloan discovered that he and his staff were among the lowest paid coaches in the league. He had already been contacted by Florida, where Sloan had coached from 1960-66, about the vacancy left by John Lotz, when Casey and N.C. State president Joab Thomas were talking about a contract extension and a raise.

    But with Casey out of town, Sloan went to Dr. Thomas, told him about the Florida offer and requested a raise for himself and his staff. When Casey found out about it, he thought Sloan was bluffing. He wasn’t. “He really wanted to stay here, but they didn’t match the salaries until the last minute, after he had already accepted the job at Florida and he couldn’t back down,” Joan Sloan says. “We had a family and State was not willing to up the salaries for anybody.”

    AD WC did hire Lou Holtz, but lost him the year LH won a title to NY Jets (coached 4 seasons, had a 33–12–3 record, 1 ACC title 1973; his teams played in four bowl games, going 2–1–1); hired and lost Bo Rein to LSU (1976 to 1979, compiling a record of 27–18–1, Last ACC football title in 1979; two bowl games, defeating Iowa State in the 1977 Peach Bowl and defeating the Pittsburgh in the 1978 Tangerine Bowl); hired football HC Tom Reed (1983 to 1985; TR never had a winning season in three years and compiled a record of 9–24) and hired Monte Kiffin as football HC (1980-1982, 16-17 record), both disaster hires; passed the AD baton to HC MBB JV, which was an unmitigated disaster; which created the firestorm that propelled State into the desert/wilderness for 20 plus years.

  16. Hawkeye Whitney 03/22/2012 at 5:07 PM #

    Look at how loosely the NCAA defines booster (referenced in the linked article). I am just saying for anyone who supports the athletic department, especially financially, it makes sense to be cautious and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. I would be interested to read what others think about reaching out to recruits via social media.

  17. tuckerdorm1983 03/22/2012 at 5:21 PM #

    I can appreciate your cautiousness. I actually went to school at UNC-Chapel Hill after graduating from NCST. Ashamed as I may be I have given money to academic departments and other organizations at UNC-Chapel Hill. UNC-Chapel Hill is a fine school it you can get passed the fans and the football and basketball teams. However, the athletics department at UNC has received nothing from me but my scorn.

  18. Hungwolf 03/22/2012 at 5:30 PM #

    Never ceases to amaze me those that get on NCSU blogs just to trash NCSU alum, coaches, and now Willis Casey. Let it sink in Willis Casey won 11 ACC titles as a coach, coaches he hired won an ACC football title which hasn’t happened since, Kay Yow whom he hired coached the Olympic team, and under his watch we won 2 bball championships. Willis Casey did let Sloan get away, but if he didn’t we wouldn’t have Jimmy V plus Sloan did nothing at Forida except get them in NCAA trouble. Holtz did go to the Jets so what, Casey plucked Holtz from W&M. Casey did hire the general and Kiffin both didn’t work out but Casey didn’t sit around for 5 or 7 years and wait, he moved on which got us Sheridan.

    Casey ran NCSU and he was a UNC man, but UNC if you look at their history of ADs also hired an NCSU man to be their AD. Maybe it hard to imagine a time and an era when people hired for a job did their best, but I never saw any hint that Casey did nothing but his best and V certainly had the utmost respect for Casey!

  19. Hawkeye Whitney 03/22/2012 at 5:44 PM #

    Tuckerdorm 1983, you and I have a lot in common. I, too, went to that institution in Orange County after graduating from NCSU (law school). My years in Chapel Hill did nothing but solidify what I already knew about their entitlement mentality in athletics. There was nothing finer than watching Googs and Company beat them back then, and I believe we will be doing it again regularly soon.

  20. wolfwarrior 03/22/2012 at 5:47 PM #

    The record is what it is. WC won swimming titles as a coach at State. How much revenue is there in swimming?
    Who was State grad who was hired as an AD at kerolina and how long did he last?

  21. tuckerdorm1983 03/22/2012 at 6:23 PM #

    Hawkeye I graduated from UNC-Law School in 1990. When were you there??

  22. Hawkeye Whitney 03/22/2012 at 6:43 PM #

    Graduated in 1993. Had several classmates who had been UNC undergrads. Skated the fine line of friendship and disgust.

  23. bluelena69 03/22/2012 at 8:22 PM #

    my Dad interviewed for a coaching job with Willis Casey and said he would never have accepted to work for such a prick.

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