Mark Gottfried’s two predecessors took opposite tacks in their approaches to N.C. State’s grudge match against North Carolina.
Herb Sendek downplayed the significance of the game, stressing it was only 1/16th of the ACC schedule. Sidney Lowe, meanwhile, wore a red blazer to signify how important he thought it was.
Gottfried said Monday that 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 at 7 p.m. (ESPN).
“This is a proud basketball fanbase 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 N.C. State fans hope the tide will turn in the near future.
Gottfried said his team started thinking about the game against UNC on the flight home from Miami, where N.C. State beat the Hurricanes 78-73 on Sunday.
That victory moved the Wolfpack into a tie for the ACC lead with Duke and Florida State.
“Although we’ve had a couple of nice wins, we’re a long, long way from where want to be,” Gottfried said. “Our guys know that. We talk about that – we talk about where we want to go and our program and where we want to take it and where it’s been and what we have to do to get there.
“Winning is what breeds confidence. We have to win big games. That’s what changes your program.”