As N.C. State blew a lead and a game Thursday against Maryland in the ACC tournament, Arizona State was beating Arizona 68-56 in the Pac-10 tournament.
The Sun Devils are coached by Herb Sendek, formerly of N.C. State. Sendek had a few things working against him when he led the Wolfpack. He refused to admit that beating North Carolina was more important than beating, say, Maryland. He used big words when he didn't have to. And he didn't own a tomato red N.C. State blazer.
His system was unusual. He filled his lineup with wings who could shoot, pass and go to the basket. He failed to become a fan favorite in Raleigh. He was an outsider and remained an outsider, even when his team won.
Despite his success turning a mediocre Arizona State team into a winning one, N.C. State fans do not complain about letting Sendek get away. They wanted him to leave. Yes, he won games. But those victories did not come against North Carolina or Duke.
Fans are, however, complaining about Sendek's successor, Sydney Lowe. A Wolfpack player has a bright moment and disappears to the end of the bench. Stars sit. Scrubs became temporary stars. But instead of building on their momentum, they sit for a half or a game or a week. N.C. State is the only team in the ACC tournament whose players still are wearing name tags.
Maybe Lowe, who does own a red blazer and who did play ball for the Wolfpack, eventually will figure it out.
As happy fans of the Sun Devils will attest, Sendek already has.