A Trip Across the River Styx

Sometime yesterday, the Wake basketball team boarded a plane and flew from one locale of college basketball purgatory to another.

If the Deacons trip to play Pitt tonight is successful, they’ll do what every other team in the ACC has done.

Big deal. The Panthers haven’t won in the calendar year 2018, losing 15 in a row in their free fall to 0-8 and 0-15.

If the Deacons’ trip results in yet another failure, then they’ll do what no other team in the conference has managed to do.

And that, to anyone who still cares about Wake basketball, would be a really big deal.

Such is life along the banks of the River Styx, where if you hang around long enough, you find yourself facing these kind of hellish predicaments.

Beat Pitt and you return home 4-12 and 11-17. You’ll still have nothing to play for other than whatever pride remains.

Lose to Pitt and you bring down ridicule and derision from all corners of the basketball world. It’s often been said that misery loves company, but on this trip I see nothing for Wake to love.

What I see in the hearts of Danny Manning in his team is angst.

Could they really lose to Pitt?

Of course they can. A program that has lost 31 of 34 ACC road games under the current coach is capable of losing anywhere.

A fan doesn’t have to be as old as me to remember when there was pride to be found in rooting for Wake basketball. But if four years is a generation in college, then two generations have passed through the school since there was anything other than a cameo in last season’s NCAA Tournament to even email home about.

The students of Wake deserve better, even if so few of them bother to show up for games.

The long-time supporters of the program, what few of them remain, certainly deserve better.

No one deserves having to pack their hopes and well-wishes aboard a plane for a trip to purgatory.

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