NC State's Coach Mark Gottfried GotFired

Archie Miller might have put his phone on silent when UNC dominated a ineffectual NC State basketball team for the second time this season.

It must be hard being an NC State fan this year. They've been on a teeter-tooter for most of the season, but at this point, they seem stuck on the bottom while Dennis Smith Jr. tries to lift them back up.

NC State was optimistic preseason about their ACC basketball team. Dennis Smith Jr. was a promising freshman that many believed would carry the team to ACC tournament contenders and a sleeper team in the NCAA tournament. As the season has gone on, Smith's back must be hurting. The team had an exceptional victory of Duke not too long ago, and many thought that the victory had saved the Wolfpack's season, and Coach Mark Gottfried's job. The team was coming off of a 51-point loss against UNC, and was anticipating a turn around.

The victory over Duke was spectacular, but it can be argued that the Wolfpack was kicking a dead horse that was the Blue Devils. This was at the point during the season when Duke was taking hit after hit with injuries, their coach's absence, and the whole Grayson Allen debacle. This is not trying to downplay State's victory, but it's important to discuss the opponent, and why this victory wasn't the turning point for the Wolfpack.

NC State did have a notable victory before the Duke game, beating a decent Virginia Tech team by 26. Here's this teeter-tooter I was mentioning. After that victory, UNC demolished State, and then the Wolfpack lost to ACC bottom-feeders Boston College and Georgia Tech. We go back up with a victory against Pitt, back down with a loss against Wake, back up with a Duke victory, and now we're stuck on the bottom with a six-game losing streak.

Dennis Smith Jr. can't win the games by himself, but boy does he try. As Lebron James keeps preaching, one man can't do it all. So who do we point the finger at for State's lackluster year? As always seems to be the case in these situations: the coach. Head coach Mark Gottfried has come under fire, and his job is at risk. While many are quick to jump on the "fire the coach" bandwagon, in NC State's case, this seems viable.

What is going on with Gottfried's program? The first sign that there may be issues came from the preseason media day when senior, and team's all-time leading shot blocker, Beejay Anya showed up 50lbs heavier than last season. This happened on someone's watch. Most college basketball teams workout all summer long, and that's usually the prime time for conditioning. How did a player, who is supposed to be regularly working out, and on a semi-monitored diet, gain so much weight in a short amount of time?

Last week, the Wolfpack took on Wake Forest, a state rival. It wasn't pretty when it started, and it sure wasn't pretty when it was over. Let's not even mention the thirty point loss, which was bad, but let's take a look at the signs of inner struggles that came that day. Dennis Smith Jr. reportedly took himself out of the game towards the end, telling his coach that he "was done." For those who don't watch many basketball games, a player doesn't just take himself out of a game unless he is injured, and even then they wait for a sub. Then Anya was reportedly taunting Wake fans, telling them to meet him outside after the game. It is evident that Gottfried has no control over his team.

State, yet again the hopeful little underdogs they're trying to be, was out to redeem themselves against UNC. This game was at PNC, the Wolfpack's home court. The ACC has proved to be problematic for on-the-road victories, so State wasn't dreaming when they said they were going to win this rematch. However, their dreams were crushed. UNC was ahead by 17 early in the game, and while Smith made a few runs happen, he ran out of gas and couldn't get the job done on his own. Fans poured out of their own arena with eight minutes left on the clock. Near the end, a quiet chant of "We want Archie!" was the final blow to Gottfried and his team. 

After the game, Roy Williams, UNC head coach, expressed sympathy for the Wolfpack's troubles, but emphasized that he wanted to win and didn't sympathize with them enough to let them get in his way. UNC point guard Joel Berry said that State's players didn't appear to know what they were doing, and everyone was just doing their own thing. By the looks of it, that thing was to just get out of the way and let Smith shoot every time. UNC senior Kennedy Meeks said he'd never heard PNC so quiet before.

Archie Miller's phone hasn't been quiet in the past few weeks. There have been reports that the Dayton basketball coach has been getting calls from the NC State program about hiring him to replace Gottfried. While State has denied those rumors, most of us aren't shocked to hear that Gottfried's job is in peril. Fans had their pitchforks out at the UNC game, and no they weren't for running out the Tar Heels. They wanted Gottfried's head. His own fan base booed him when he was introduced. 

“That’s harsh,” superstar rapper J. Cole said from his front-row seat.

Gottfried's team remains uninspired, and their season is tanking. We're just a few weeks away from March, and Gottfried doesn't appear to be getting control of his team any time soon. That NCAA Tournament invitation looks to be rerouting, and Gottfried is now GotFired.

It was announced on Thursday that the NC State coach will not return next season. It shocked no one.