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The Mark Gottfried roller coaster: Sometimes you have a good time, sometimes you hurl

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Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Fluctuations in performance will happen during every college basketball season, seein' as how we're dealing with human beings and not, say, robots. When the season is over and each game is taken into account, we get a decent estimate of a team's true ability.

Along the way, there can be some wild swings in performance, as illustrated in the chart I've put together below. I was curious about how this NC State team--the worst of Gottfried's tenure, at least in terms of win-loss record--compared to the previous four.

Pomeroy Ratings Preseason rank Highest rank Lowest rank End of reg. season rank End of postseason rank
2016 41 41 91 ? ?
2015 60 31 80 36 31
2014 72 54 123 78 54
2013 24 15 45 40 34
2012 65 35 77 49 44

(NCSU's current 2016 Pomeroy rank: 63.)

One thing that's unique to 2016: this Wolfpack team never, at any point in the regular season, moved ahead of its preseason Pomeroy Rating. The other four all climbed ahead at some point during the regular season, even if in some cases that climb was followed by a slide.

Funny thing I noticed, was at this point in the 2014 season, State was only 84th in the Pomeroy Ratings, 21 spots below where the 2016 edition of the Pack stands. Of course, that '14 team was 15-8 (5-5) on Feb. 10, which is a far healthier place to be, Pomeroy Ratings be damned.

The 2014 edition had the most violent swing toward gross territory thanks to its early-season loss in overtime, at home, by double digits, to NC Central.

Each season has seen a swing of at least 30 spots in the Ratings, but three of Gottfried's previous four teams ended up besting their preseason rating when all was said and done. All four made the NCAA tournament This year it's highly unlikely either of those things will happen. That's the roller coaster for you.