Blog Entry

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

Posted on: March 31, 2011 5:41 am
That's the million-dollar question of the moment: Which basketball job is the top one out there, Missouri or N.C. State?

Other than Oklahoma, those are the only major programs with an opening. And seeing how Oklahoma is a football school, well, like I said: Which basketball job is the top one out there, Missouri or N.C. State?

Here's another question:

How is this even a question?

Missouri has been to zero Final Fours. Ever. Apparently, like my man Michael Stipe of R.E.M. said, you can't get there from here. But you can get there from N.C. State, which has won two national titles.

If this were a math equation, it would be over. Two national titles is greater than zero Final Fours. No need for Euclid, folks.

But fine, it's a bit more complicated than that. There is the geography, what with N.C. State being a half-hour from Duke and North Carolina, while Missouri is the only BCS school in its state.

Which brings me back to that whole "zero Final Four" thing. It hasn't mattered for 60 years that Missouri was the only prime-time university in its state. So why will it start to matter now? Besides, Missouri has its own version of North Carolina or Duke: Kansas.

Both schools have an enormous bully (or two) located in the same neighborhood, and those bullies have a history of winning recruits, games, Final Four berths. One difference is, UNC's Roy Williams (61 in August) is approaching retirement age, and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (64) is practically there already. They won't coach forever, whereas Kansas' Bill Self (48) might have another 15 years to go.

Another difference? N.C. State is in the heart of basketball country. North Carolina is a basketball state. The ACC is a basketball conference. Not so for Missouri as a state, or the Big 12 as a conference. That matters.

So too does the leadership. N.C. State has a new president and athletics director, both with deep ties and devotion to basketball. Missouri is still run by two of the guys -- Chancellor Brady Deaton, AD Mike Alden -- who fell in love with Quin Snyder and were the last to know it was time to get rid of him. Alden in particular would scare me as a boss, given the answer to this question: What's the biggest difference between Mike Alden and Mike Hamilton, the incompetent AD at Tennessee?

Hamilton never hired Quin Snyder over Bill Self.

Meanwhile, though, many in the media seem to think that it's a close call -- but that the Missouri job is better than N.C. State. Gary Parrish here at is on record as saying Missouri is a better job.

Some don't think it's even close. This guy from the St. Louis paper wrote Wednesday about Shaka Smart and opined that, "If it comes down to North Carolina State vs. Missouri, I'd put the odds on Mizzou because it's a much better job than NC State."


Based on what, exactly?

Category: NCAAB

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:40 pm

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

Hmm, as laughable as hiring Frank Haith?
You were saying? Weren't you supposed to know the ACC?

Since: Dec 22, 2009
Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:30 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:30 pm

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

The fact is that Missouri is such a better job than N.C. State that to suggest otherwise is laughable.

Hmm, as laughable as hiring Frank Haith?

Since: Sep 19, 2010
Posted on: April 4, 2011 8:53 am

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

Don't go knocking Missouri.  After all, the entire North American continent would go flying apart if it weren't for Missouri in the middle holding it together by virtue of it sucking so much...

Since: Apr 2, 2011
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:11 am

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

Reports now saying Missouri has agreed in principle with Frank Haith. Miami fans are rejoicing. LOL.

Since: Apr 2, 2011
Posted on: April 3, 2011 12:42 am

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

Every State fan will be happy to let any coach who chooses his job based on expecting to achieve a Sendek level of success go elsewhere. We're looking for a coach better than that.

Here's a question for all those who like to cite Sendek in their anti-State arguments. Do you think Missouri should hire Sendek? If not, why not?

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2011 11:38 pm

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

If, say, Gregg Marshall comes in and averages 21 wins a season over five years, with all five ending in the NCAA tournament and four of them earning the Tigers a top-four finish in the Big 12, plus he sprinkles in a couple of wins over Kansas, doesn't get blown out when he does lose to the Jayhawks and makes a run or two in the NCAAs, he'll be given a handsome contract extension and he'll be a popular man in Columbia. If he does the same thing in Raleigh, the fans will want his blood because they think they should win like Duke and North Carolina. N.C. State ran Herb Sendek out of town after he rebuilt the program. That would never have happened at Missouri.

Honestly, the best job of the three might be Oklahoma.

OU might be the best job of those three, and they were able to get Kruger because they gave him a boatload of money and because it is a pretty good job.

Mizzou is a better job than NC State for the reasons you mention.  At Mizzou, the Herb Sendek/Mike Anderson level of success gets you a contract extension and offers of a huge raise if you want to stay; at NC State, the same amount of success gets you fired by delusional boosters hoping that former Valvano players can coach NCSU back to their glory days (which have been dead and gone ever since Coach K got his program rolling at Duke).

Since: Apr 2, 2011
Posted on: April 2, 2011 3:41 pm

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

IMO a lot of these comments are off base and misinformed. Several points to make:

1. Some people have commented on the expecations of State fans. As a State fan, here is what I expect:

- Compete for regular season conference championships. With Duke and UNC in the conference, I don't really expect State to win the conference, but I'd like them to be competitive. That means finishing in the top 3-4 occasionally. It implies beating Duke and UNC occasionally.

- Make the NCAA tournament regularly, and win some postseason games. This implies making the Sweet Sixteen and beyond occasionally.

- Be a top 25 caliber program. This means finishing in the final top 25 most years.

IMO those expectations are achievable at State, and I don't think any quality coach would have a problem with them.

2. Some people have commented on Sendek's tenure at State. State finished in the top 4 in the conference 2 times in 10 years under him. State made the Sweet Sixteen once in 10 years under him. He had a losing ACC record. His teams rarely beat quality teams and routinely lost to teams that were viewed to be weaker than State. His results were mediocre.

He also left the program on his own, he was not fired. The AD at that time, Lee Fowler, would have never fired him. It is also underappreciated that he left the program in poor shape... 6 of the top 7 players in the rotation in his final season were leaving the program whether or not he stayed, and the recruits in the pipeline were fairly unimpressive. This is likely one of the reasons Sendek left... it was a good time to go. I suspect if he stayed for another 5 years, State would have performed similarly under him as it did under Lowe.

Sendek has shown at ASU that he is not the great coach some in the media and some casual fans once thought he was. He has been at ASU for 5 seasons, during which time the PAC 10 has been down. He has made only one NCAA tournament, and that was with James Harden, an NBA lottery pick who came to ASU after Sendek hired his high school coach.

Bottom line, Sendek's success at State is overstated. It was time for him to go when he left State, and, to his credit, he recognized that.

3. As for the appeal of the State job vs. the Missouri job, coaches are generally a confident group. They generally will go into any job expecting to succeed. Consequently, they will tend to evaluate and compare jobs under the assumption that they will be successful. This bears on some of the discussion as follows:

- No quality coach is going to be concerned about competing with Duke and UNC. They want that challenge. IMO this is a non-issue.

- Conference pedigree matters. The ACC has historically been the best basketball conference, and I think there is little question that it is viewed as a stronger conference than the Big 12, and justifiably so.

- It bears mentioning that Gary Williams is 66, Coach K is 64, and Roy Williams is 60. The incoming coach could quickly elevate the program to the tier below UNC and Duke and be poised to take advantage of their expected coaching transitions within the next several years. Meanwhile, Self is 48 and Barnes is 56. The same transition-based opportunity won't exist at Missouri's top conference competition for many more years. I don't think this is a big factor, but it still favors the State job.

- Some people have suggested State fans are a negative due to high expectations. I believe this is incorrect. A new coach expects to be successful, so he isn't worried about how fans will react to his program performing poorly. State has been in the top 20 in attendance for several years running, again despite generally disappointing performance on the court. State has a huge and passionate fan base. I don't know if Missouri enjoys a similar level of support.

4. Other factors:

- Despite the UNC/Duke factor that is often inappropriately cited, State is easy to recruit to. Since 1998, State is #12 nationally in top 100 players signed; #14 nationally in top 50 players signed; and #13 nationally in top 10 players signed. And this is despite the generally poor results on the court. A new coach who starts to win will find it even easier. I don't know how Missouri compares, but I assume their results have not been as good.

- Indications are that State is willing to pay up to $4M per year for a coach who deserves it. If they hire Smart or Marshall, I don't think they will pay that much, but the point is that they will spend whatever it takes to get a coach they want. And the AD has said they will take a similar approach with assistants, ensuring they are well paid as well. I assume this means State is in position to offer more money than Missouri.

- State has among the best facilities in the nation. I don't know anything about Missouri's facilities, but I assume State's are better.

- State has a lot of returning talent and also has good recruits in the pipeline. This is a short term consideration, but it should mean that the next coach has an opportunity to win right away, which is certainly a positive. I don't know how that talent compares to Missouri's returning talent, but State's should be equal or better.

- Something I have not seen mentioned is the merits of Raleigh, NC vs. Columbia, MO. I have never been to Columbia, MO, so I can't comment on its merits. However, Raleigh and the surrounding Triangle area have been on numerous lists of the best places to live in America over the past 10-15 years. It is also true that there are many coaches who would see living in the East as an advantage, and thus an edge for State over Missouri.

- People have commented on which university is better. It may be that university rankings typically rank Missouri a bit higher, but it is not a large disparity. And that is somewhat offset by the fact that State is regarded as a top 10 school in terms of value as shown in multiple rankings over the past few years; Missouri charges considerably more tuition for both in state and out of state students, but the educations offered by both universities is of similar quality. All that said, I strongly doubt this is a factor coaches care much about; IMO they are close enough to be a wash for purposes of appeal to prospective coaches.

Bottom line, IMO all factors that will be important to a coach taken together favor State, and it's not close. And notice that I did not mention tradition or past success at all... that would favor State, but I agree it is far enough back that it doesn't matter much nowadays.

Good column.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2011 11:28 am

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

N o, I'm right because of everything I said earlier. Your argument wasn't even close to anything considered a rational thought. The fact is that Missouri is such a better job than N.C. State that to suggest otherwise is laughable.

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: April 1, 2011 8:32 pm

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

i mean, since we're using national championships that occurred decades ago as the measuring stick on which job is better, can we make the same argument that a Texas Western, San Francisco or Loyola would be a better than the gig at Missouri?
The way I see it, and I bet it's the way a lot of college coaches see it...North Carolina State men's basketball is where coaching careers go to die. As long as Roy and K are there, NCSU will always be third fiddle in the local market, on TV, in the papers, on the radio, etc.  State fans want INSTANT success. They want Final Fours tomorrow.  Their patience is next to nothing and their anger builds, and honestly, creates an atmosphere of negativity throughout the program.  It's contagious.  Hell, look at their players this year....they metamorphosed into their fan base, but happened to wear jerseys.  Negatively all around. 
Successful programs aren't born over night.  Both K and Roy started off as unknowns, and slowly built their dynasties. And with those dynasties, the infrastructure was in place to capitalize on the success. Branding, aggressive marketing, TV exposure, so and so on.   It's not just the coach.  The entire program from top to bottom has to be on the same page.   The fanbase has to be passionate, but not delusional and filled with anger (ahem, State fans).  Spend 10 minutes on a State message board and you'll feel the need to take a shower and attend church immediately.  Id take Missouri any day and all day.

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