Following Dukeâs win at Wake Forest, Mike Krzyzewski expressed pride in the efficiency with which his teams perform on the road. Teaching players to enjoy competing on hostile courts is a key to success, Krzyzewski said. As he recalled telling his young players: âAll the banners you see in Cameron were not won in Cameron. You have to win away from your homecourt.â
You do have to affix your signature to your homecourt, however.
Getting teams to remain focused and poised away from home has been a major shortcoming during Herb Sendekâs tenure at N.C. State. The point rose anew the day prior to Dukeâs Winston-Salem victory, as Sendekâs veteran Wolfpack traveled to Chapel Hill and melted in the heat of a tie game.
To their credit, the Pack came back with a masterful win at Boston College three days later.
Krzyzewski claimed Duke has won 80 percent of its road games since 1997-98. He must have been including nonconference action; in ACC competition the figure is a still-impressive 76 percent.
Sendek arrived in Raleigh for the 1996-97 season, the last for accomplished road warrior Dean Smith at North Carolina. Only three coaches have been in the league over the entire period from then to now: Krzyzewski, Sendek, and Marylandâs Gary Williams.
Through January 14, Krzyzewskiâs squads have won 74.3 percent of their road contests during that span, Williams 52.7 percent, and Sendek 32.4 percent.
Granted, teams at the three programs have differed significantly in talent level, although that, after all, reflects coaching too. Thanks to an unbalanced ACC schedule, not everyone plays on the same courts, either.
But Williams and Sendek also are among the most shameless coaches in sticking near home during the nonconference portion of the schedule, a trait one might argue handicaps their squads when forced to venture to less supportive venues. This season N.C. State did voluntarily travel to Alabama and to Indianapolis to play Notre Dame, an in-state school, and Maryland participated in the Rainbow Classic.
Each School On Road Since 1997 Season:
- Duke most recently lost at Georgia Tech in 1996.
- N.C. State last won at Duke in 1995, when Krzyzwski was sidelined. Prior to that, the Wolfpack won at Cameron in 1988. That victory came under Jim Valvano, who was 14-9 against Krzyzewski, his contemporary, from 1981 through 1990. N.C. State visits Durham on Jan. 18.
- Krzyzewski last endured a losing ACC road record in 1996, when Duke was 3-5.
- Only once in Sendekâs first nine seasons did N.C. State post a winning ACC road record. The 2004 Wolfpack was 5-3.
- Marylandâs ACC road prowess has declined since it won the NCAA title in 2002. The Terps may have hit a new low, at least in terms of ballhanding, at Cameron the other night.