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
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:
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.