|What a win for the Pack on Saturday over Duke, but there's history saying a loss is coming Wednesday night. (US Presswire)|
You could make the argument that North Carolina State's fevered home win Saturday over Duke was the defining moment of college hoops' season so far. And even if it wasn't, it's clearly top-three.
Wolfpack fans are woofing happy now, and really most of us are pleased for that quirky sect of a fan base, which has waited so long for times like these. The team is looking good, has 14-2 record to go with its No. 14 ranking in the AP poll, and in general their fans haven't been so overwhelmingly positive and sunny in years and years.
That said, a minor setback could be coming. The Wolfpack have a road game against enigmatic Maryland Wednesday night. NC State is no doubt better than the Terps, but signs signal that Mark Turgeon's team is going to hold serve at home the same way Mark Gottfried's guys did over the weekend.
The Raleigh News & Observer's Joe Giglio ran back the Wolfpack's data following wins against their two rivals, Duke and North Carolina. Turns out, State has 14 wins in the past 20 years against the two brands of blue. The previous 13 wins have resulted in a 1-12 next-game record. Say it with me: hangover effect.
Here's the chart of the damage done, per Giglio. Note that five of the losses have come to the Turtles.
|2012-13||Jan. 12||W, No. 1 Duke, 84-76||@ Maryland, ???|
|2009-10||Jan. 20||W, No. 7 Duke, 88-74||L, @ Maryland, 88-64|
|2006-07||Feb. 3||W, No. 3 UNC, 83-79||L, @ GT, 74-65|
|2003-04||Feb. 15||W, No. 1 Duke, 78-74||L, @ Clemson 60-55|
|2002-03||Jan. 22||W, No. 3 Duke, 80-71||W, UNC, 86-77|
|2002-03||Jan. 26||W, UNC, 86-77||L, @ Maryland, 75-60|
|2002-03||Feb. 25||W, @ UNC, 75-67||L, Maryland, 68-65|
|2001-02||Jan. 23||W, @ UNC, 77-59||L, Wake, 82-81*|
|2001-02||Feb. 24||W, UNC, 98-76||L, @ Wake, 83-71|
|1997-98||Feb. 21||W, @ No. 1 UNC, 86-72||L, Clemson, 77-72|
|1995-96||Feb. 3||W, No. 8 UNC, 78-75||L, Virginia, 84-82|
|1994-95||Jan. 4||W, No. 1 UNC, 80-70||L, Virginia, 76-65|
|1994-95||Jan. 18||W, @ Duke, 77-60||L, Maryland, 84-67|
|1994-95||Feb. 18||W, Duke, 84-79||L, @ Maryland, 84-71|
Something I always keep in mind: For as interesting and fun as these kind of trends and statistical nuggets are, they have little true impact. Most of State's players weren't even in kindergarten when this Duke/UNC hangover trend began. It has no real bearing on how NC State will play Wednesday. These players don't carry the images of all the losses in their heads. State has three seniors who were part of the 2010 win over Duke/loss to Maryland, but it's not like they were factors.
Unless the discussion and bend of the trend seeps into the psyche of the team, this is merely one of the funkier streaks in college hoops, one that's bound to turn around if Gottfried continues on the track he's built. If the Wolfpack do indeed lose to Maryland, this pattern will have almost nothing to do with it.
I will say, though, that this tendency is so purely State-ish. There is always something about the program that allows its fans to wallow, and even amid this season of reclaim, we've found a tiny reason for anxiety.
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