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February is (not) our month

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See y'all in March. (Oh dammit no I will watch. Stupid compulsions.)

The Coast Guard is military too, dammit!
The Coast Guard is military too, dammit!
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The pattern of Mark Gottfried’s NC State teams has been to straddle the bubble, often seemingly on the bad side of it, only to surge late in the season to sneak in to the Big Dance. In my alcohol-addled mind, I was thinking the surge usually began in the month of February, and thus had determined to ramp up my hope and enthusiasm for the glorious run of résumé building to come over the next month. Alas, upon further review, the bullshit numbers do not fit my narrative. February has been Gottfried’s worst month against ACC competition.

Here you go:

Year

Jan. W-L

Feb. W-L

Mar./ACC Tourney

2012

4-3

4-4

4-1

2013

5-3

4-3

4-2

2014

4-4

3-4

4-2

2015

4-5

?-?

?-?

Totals

17-15 (.531)

11-11 (.500)

12-5 (.706)

Should history go all Groundhog Day, we can expect the Pack to go 3-3 over the next month and enter March at 8-8 in league play and, again, most likely on the outside looking in terms of tournament credentials. But look out Clemson and Syracuse in March, when Gottfried’s teams seemingly always come together to play their best basketball. A road win over a top 100 Tiger team and a home win over what will likely be a fellow bubble team in the Orange would give the Pack the Gottfried push going into the league tournament, where one more win should cement a fourth trip to the NCAA tournament in four seasons.

Of course no other NC State head man piloted a team to four NCAAs in his first four years, and only HWSNBN and Jimmy V took five straight teams at any time during their tenure, though getting there was more difficult in their eras due to the tournament’s expansion, especially in the case of V. Nonetheless, getting there four straight years would be a fabulous feat provided February foibles don’t derail the effort. With Virginia, Louisville, and UNC on the slate, there is very little margin for error to end the month with an even record. Anything less, and a 3-1 or better March momentum builder likely won’t matter.