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Barry Jacobs On Road Warriors

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Discussion of Sidney Lowe's prospects for continuing as head coach at N.C. State ratcheted up a notch after the Wolfpack's weak performance last weekend at Chapel Hill, where students derisively, if accurately, chanting "Not Our Rival!" were waved into silence by North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

The defeat was N.C. State's ninth in a row against the team its fans love to hate, 15th in 16, and 26th in the last 32 meetings over a 15-year span. That's as lopsided as the UNC advantage in its supposed football rivalry with Duke.

Record On Road and Overall In ACC, Last Five Seasons, Through Games Of Jan.30
Coach, School Road W% 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 Next Home All W-L
Roy Williams, NC 22-13 .629 2-1 2-6 6-2 8-0 4-4 2/1@BC 26-9 48-22
Mike Krzyzewski, D 21-14 .600 2-1 5-3 4-4 6-2 4-4 2/1@M 30-6 51-20
Gary Williams, M 18-18 .500 3-1 5-3 2-6 4-4 4-4 2/12@BC 24-11 42-29
Leonard Hamilton, FS 15-20 .429 1-2 5-3 4-4 3-5 2-6 2/6@NC 24-12 39-32
Seth Greenberg, VT 14-21 .400 1-2 3-5 3-5 3-5 4-4 2/2@NC 26-10 40-32
Paul Hewitt, GT 6-29 .171 0-3 1-7 0-8 4-4 1-7 2/3@Mi 21-15 27-44
Sidney Lowe, NS 6-30 .167 0-4 2-6 1-7 1-7 2-6 2/5@D 16-19 22-49
Frank Haith, Mi 5-31 .139 0-4 0-8 2-6 2-6 1-7 2/9@WF 19-16 24-47

Much is made in some quarters of Lowe's pronounced inability to win on the road in the ACC. The issue is sure to arise when the Wolfpack visits Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 5. Yet in turns out Lowe's woes are not unlike those suffered by several of his peers.

Lowe is among eight men's head coaches who've been at their ACC respective schools for at least five years. That's presumably a sufficient period upon which to base reasonable comparisons. (Even if they're unreasonable comparisons, they're still interesting.)

Only two of those five-year ACC veterans are above .500 on the road -- Williams and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski. The Hall of Famers are separated by a single road win over the past half-decade. Each has five games left to play on ACC opponents' courts in 2011.

Lowe, at 6-30, falls in a group at the bottom of the pile with Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt (6-29) and Miami's Frank Haith (5-31). His '11 squad is 0-4 away from home.

Rather than the road record, the true cause for concern in Raleigh - in terms of competitiveness, stirring the fan base, and boosting revenue-rich attendance - is that Lowe is the sole ACC coaching veteran with a losing record on his home court.

No one fares better at home than Krzyzewski. His teams have lost a mere six games at Cameron since 2007, half of them to the Tar Heels, who visit on Feb. 9.

Four ACC coaches have won at least two-thirds of their home games since '07, led by Duke's 83.3 percent success rate.

Tellingly, during that span only Lowe's teams have lost more than they won playing before their own fans (16-19 through Jan. 23.) Combined with a losing road record, that left N.C. State as the only ACC program without a first-division finish over the previous four years.

One can argue the RBC Center, a pro-college hybrid surrounded by roads and parking lots at a remove from the heart of N.C. State student life, is not the best place to stoke the home fires. But N.C. State fans are among the most loyal anywhere, and competitive, hard-working teams playing exciting ball, especially winning ones, are apt to stir the embers of their passions.

The Wolfpack is 2-1 in the ACC at home this year, losing only to Duke. Virginia Tech visits Raleigh on Wednesday. Four of N.C. State's last six games of the season will be played at the RBC Center. Such scheduling is usually advantageous; making it so could mollify many of Lowe's critics.

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