Hail to DUKE Blue Devils! National Champions


Now that the season is over I figured it was a good time to ponder what if’s…..

First, let me congratulate the Duke Blue Devils on an outstanding season. Coach Mike Krzyzewski won his 5th National Title and his 88th NCAA tournament game.  As an ACC fan,  I am biased and glad Wisconsin went down in defeat.  The Badgers, for many Wolfpackers, in recent years was a team of shared interest because of our love for NFL dynamo and former football signal caller Russell Wilson.  They learned about NC State and we learned to temporarily like Wisconsin.

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NC State vs Tennessee: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule
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  • Duke has been a virtual basketball dynasty in the 35 years that Coach K has graced the court sidelines.  He and former NC State basketball coach James T. Valvano both entered the ACC in the 1980-81 season looking to sustain storied programs that had recently experienced veteran coaching changes (Norm Sloan and Bill Foster).  Jimmy V experienced success much earlier with his inheritance of Thurl Bailey, Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg who would form the nucleus of NC State’s 1983 National Championship.  However, since 1980-81 season…

    Duke has experienced:

    • 12 Final Fours
    • 5 National Championships
    • 13 ACC Titles (Tournament)
    • All- Americans such as Christain Laetner, Grant Hill, Jason Williams, Bobby Hurley, JJ Redick, Jabari Parker, Danny Ferry, Johnny Dawkins, Shane Battier
    • Only 2 losing seasons at Duke (’81-’83 and ’82-’83)

    Apr 7, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski .Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    UNC has experienced:

    • 9 Final Fours (6 Dean Smith & 3 Roy Williams)
    • 4 National Championships (2 Dean Smith and 2 Roy Williams)
    • 8 ACC Titles (6 Dean Smith and 2 Roy Williams)
    • All-Americans such as James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Al Wood, Kenny Smith, Ty Law, Tyler Zeller, Jerry Stackhouse, Tyler Hansbrough, Eric Montross, Sean May
    • 1 losing season (’01-’02 Matt Doherty)

    Feb 21, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    What if… Jimmy V’s reign had not ended at NC State.

    What if… Though I am not a fan, what if John Calipari had not toyed with NC State to get a better deal with Memphis.  Skeptics thought he really did not want to go head to head with the likes of Duke and UNC anyway and it was all a ruse.  But what if he had come to Raleigh?

    What if… The Wolfpack had not missed on coaches like Les Robinson and yes…Herb Sendek.  Sadly, beloved Sidney Lowe should probably be added to this list also.

    What if…  (we kept some who have left early)

    • Tyler Lewis transferred to Butler after his sophomore year in 2014
    • Rodney Purvis transferred to UCONN after his freshman year in 2013
    • DeShawn Painter departed NC State for Old Dominion in 2012 for family reasons
    • Ryan Harrow transferred to Kentucky after his freshman season in 2011
    • Julius Mays transferred to Kentucky after his sophomore year in 2010
    • Damien Wilkins transferred to Georgia after hs sophomore season in 2001

    NBA Bound

    While it is true that all teams lose players for various reasons, the above players who left NC State early all had immeasurable impacts on the Wolfpack program.  Unlike Duke, Carolina and other perennial powers who can absorb such losses, the Pack has been in a rebuilding mode since the days of Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe.  Simply put, the impact a TJ Warren would have made on this season’s NC State team could have been the difference between finishing 22-14 and winning NC State’s 3rd national championship.

    Finally, the RIGHT man for the job:  Mark Gottfried

    North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    •  92-52 (0.639) in 4 seasons at NC State
    • 4 consecutive 20+ win seasons at NC State
    • 4 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances
    • 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances
    • Solid recruiting classes