The more N.C. State loses, the more frustration there is among Wolfpack fans and questions about coach Mark Gottfried’s future.
After Saturday’s loss to Wake Forest, the fifth in a row for the Wolfpack, Gottfried said his team can’t worry about any speculation about his future and has to focus on the task at hand.
“You’ve got to kind of eliminate some of the other things that kind of are around us and we’ve got to kind of draw in a little closer as a team and stay together,” Gottfried said.
The Wolfpack (14-12) has seen a once promising season slip away with a 3-10 ACC record and a series of lopsided conference losses. Gottfried pointed out after Saturday’s 88-58 loss to the Demon Deacons that this team has also picked up some big wins, notably at Duke on Jan. 23.
“We’re the same team that went into Cameron and won,” Gottfried said. “We’re the same team that beat Virginia Tech a couple days after they beat Duke by 20. It’s the same group in that locker room. So we’ve got to figure it out.”
Gottfried told CBS Sports after the game that he has not talked with N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow about his future and he said: “I plan on being here a long time.”
Gottfried, 53, has three seasons remaining on his contract. Yow, in a response to frustrated fans on Twitter during Wednesday’s 95-71 loss at Florida State, said she would evaluate the program after the season.
Yow hired Gottfried before the 2011-12 season. Gottfried has a 122-81 overall record at N.C. State with a 47-54 ACC mark.
A comparison of Gottfried’s six seasons to six previous seasons at N.C. State and in the context of how the rest of the ACC has done:
▪ Gottfried’s first four teams made the NCAA tournament and the 2012 and ’15 teams made the Sweet 16. North Carolina, Duke and Louisville — each with a hall-of-fame coach — are the only other current ACC members who made the tournament in those four consecutive seasons.
Louisville (four), Duke and UNC (three each) are the only ACC programs with more trips to the Sweet 16 during Gottfried’s tenure. Virginia, Syracuse, Miami and Notre Dame also have two trips each.
In the six seasons before Gottfried was hired, the Wolfpack made the NCAA tournament only once (2006) and didn’t advance past the second round. Only once, in 2005, did N.C. State make the Sweet 16 from 1990 until Gottfried’s arrival.
▪ N.C. State has won more games, overall and in the ACC, and has a better winning percentage, overall and in the ACC, during Gottfried’s tenure than it did in the six seasons before he was hired.
The ACC has gone from a 12-team league in Gottfried’s first season in 2011-12 to 15-team league in 2013-14, and went from a 16-game league schedule to an 18-game schedule before the 2012-13 season, so it can be tricky to make a linear comparison. The ACC has also gotten more difficult with the additions of Louisville, Syracuse and Notre Dame.
But from the 2005-06 season through 2010-11, N.C. State ranked ninth out of 12 teams in overall winning percentage (108-88, .551) and 11th out of 12 teams in ACC games (35-61, .365).
Gottfried’s overall record (122-81, .601) ranks 10th out of the 15 teams currently in the ACC. Of the 11 teams that were in the ACC when Gottfried was hired in April 2011, N.C. State ranks sixth (47-54, .465) among those teams in conference play.
▪ The win at Duke was N.C. State’s first in Durham since 1995, and Gottfried has a 2-1 record against the Blue Devils in Raleigh. Gottfried also ended a long drought in Chapel Hill with a 58-46 win at the Smith Center on Feb. 24, 2015. That was N.C. State’s first road win over Tar Heels coach Roy Williams and first in Chapel Hill since 2003. It’s also the fewest points UNC has ever scored, in any game, at the Smith Center.
▪ Only Boston College (2-29) has a worse record in ACC play since the start of the 2015-16 season than N.C. State’s 8-23 mark (Wake Forest is also 8-23).
The real problem for Gottfried this season is not just the number of losses but the kinds of losses. Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest was the third in ACC play this season by at least 25 points.
N.C. State has never lost any ACC game by more points than it did at UNC on Jan. 8 (107-56) and Saturday’s loss was the largest margin ever in a road game with Wake Forest, a series that dates back to the 1910s.
You have to go back to the 1993-94 season, when N.C. State was in throes of a major rebuilding project under Les Robinson, to find a season when the Wolfpack lost that many conference games by so many points.
▪ While N.C. State has made unqualified progress under Gottfried, Virginia and Miami have made significant leaps during the same time period.
Virginia was 39-57 (.406) in ACC play in the six seasons between 2006 and 2011 (four games better than N.C. State) and has gone 73-26 (.737) under Tony Bennett since the 2011-12 season (26 games better than N.C. State). The Cavaliers also have an ACC title (in 2014) and two first-place finishes in the regular-season (’14 and ’15).
Miami went 36-60 (.375) in ACC play from 2006-11 (one game better than N.C. State) and has improved to 60-40 (.600) under Jim Larranaga since the 2011-12 season (13 games better than N.C. State). The Hurricanes also won an ACC title (in 2013) and finished first in the regular season that same year.
Larranaga (9-7) and Bennett (6-9) have also have had more success against Duke and UNC than Gottfried (5-18). Gottfried’s mark against the Triangle neighbors is better than the previous six-year record by N.C. State (3-19).
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
How N.C. State’s six seasons under Mark Gottfried compare to the six before he was hired:
2011-12 to present
2005-06 to 2010-11*
Note: *Herb Sendek was the coach during the 2005-06 season and Sidney Lowe was the coach for the other five seasons.