Gottfried embracing rivalry with North Carolina

January 24, 2012 

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried's two predecessors took opposite tacks in their approaches to the Wolfpack's grudge match against North Carolina.

Herb Sendek downplayed the significance of the game, stressing it was only one-sixteenth of the ACC schedule. Sidney Lowe, meanwhile, wore a red blazer to signify how important he thought it was.

Gottfried said he doesn't own any red blazers, but he nonetheless embraced the implications of Thursday's meeting between the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels at the Smith Center (7 p.m., ESPN).

"This is a proud basketball fan base at N.C. State," Gottfried said. "North Carolina has been terrific. Our people have hope that that'll change at some point."

The final part of Gottfried's quote referred to the fact that North Carolina has dominated the series in recent years. The Wolfpack's 4-1 start to the ACC season gives fans hope the tide will turn in the near future.

Gottfried said his team started thinking about the game against North Carolina during the flight home from Miami, where N.C. State won 78-73 Sunday.

That victory moved the Wolfpack into a tie for the ACC lead with Duke and Florida State.

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