I knew my Herb Sendek column would bring the wrath of N.C. State readers.
I was prepared for it.
I'm OK with it.
But I honestly believe the Wolfpack fans who wanted Sendek gone -- and, yes, I know it wasn't all Wolfpack fans -- and still stand behind the move are simply too close to the situation to properly understand what happened. They don't see it like I see it -- or like the rest of the country sees it -- because they're too emotionally attached to enjoy perspective.
Again, Sendek was pushed out after FIVE straight NCAA tournaments.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
Do you know how many ACC schools have strung five straight NCAA tournaments within the past 15 seasons?
The answer is five.
- Duke under Mike Krzyzewski.
- North Carolina under Roy Williams.
- Maryland under Gary Williams.
- Wake Forest under Skip Prosser.
- N.C. State under Herb Sendek.
His name is Herb Sendek.
But, Gary, Sendek never made an Elite Eight!
That's the other sentence I've read 78 times in the past 24 hours.
And, obviously, that's a fair point.
(Turning sarcasm on)
Because failing to make the Elite Eight just isn't acceptable at what is, at best, the No. 3 basketball school in North Carolina -- a basketball school so great it was turned down by roughly 47 coaches before settling on Sidney Lowe. That's the type of place where Elite Eights should be the standard. I mean, it's not like N.C. State is as pitiful as Florida, which kept Billy Donovan despite him never so much as making a Sweet 16 in the five-year period from 2001 to 2005.
Can you believe that?
Donovan made the NCAA tournament in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
He lost in the first round or second round each time.
Yeah, he won national titles in 2006 and 2007.
Those five years of early exits from the NCAA tournament were embarrassing.
(Turning sarcasm off)
Seriously, it's just insane.
It's one thing for UCLA to run off Steve Lavin or for Kentucky to run off Tubby Smith because simply making the NCAA tournament at UCLA and Kentucky might not be good enough. If moving Lavin leads to Ben Howland at UCLA, it can be rationalized. If moving Smith leads to John Calipari at Kentucky, then perhaps that can be justified, too.
But N.C. State -- and this is the part N.C. State fans refuse to grasp -- isn't UCLA or Kentucky.
It was never getting a Howland or a Calipari.
Or a Rick Barnes.
Or a Jay Wright.
Or any coach of that caliber.
That's why the situations don't compare, because N.C. State moved a guy who made five consecutive NCAA tournaments for an alumnus who had never coached college basketball. And though I actually like Sidney Lowe and recognize that recruiting is going relatively well, the truth is that he's currently predicted to finish 10th-or-worse in the ACC for the fourth straight season.
That's a fact that can't be spun positive.
And neither can the treatment Sendek received at N.C. State.