The first rule of Ice Bath is you don't talk about Ice Bath.
The second rule of Ice Bath is that at some point, preferably before the next game, you have to get out of the Ice Bath.
Wake broke both rules this week at the ACC Tournament. Not only did Coach Jeff Bzdelik volunteer on Wednesday that he was going to require all of his players to take an ice bath after the 81-69 first-round victory over Notre Dame, the Deacons failed to thaw before getting run out of Greensboro Coliseum today by Pittsburgh 84-55.
So clearly bad things can happen when you break the rules of Ice Bath.
First, off, you can come perilously close to the worst ACC Tournament loss in the history of the school. The 103-73 drubbing by Duke in 1966 -- Jack Murdock's one and only season as head coach -- remains the nadir, but that might have changed if Wake had kept playing down 29 with 28 seconds to play, instead of dribbling out the clock. For the record, Coach Jamie Dixon of Pitt had emptied his bench and Bzdelik had not.
But from what I'm hearing, an even worse fate can befall a team that breaks the rules of Ice Bath. It can end up playing in the College Basketball Invitational.
When I first heard rumblings that Wake might be entertaining the idea of playing in the CBI, I confess I was stunned. The CBI is a 16-team tournament that actually requires those lucky enough to get an invitation to pay for the right of playing in the event.
Pittsburgh, while still in the Big East, played in the CBI in 2012. Paul Zeise, my new buddy from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, stopped by my computer at the Greensboro Coliseum work room to pass along that the Panthers paid $25,000 for the first round, $50,000 for the second and $75,000 for the third.
In the post-game, I asked Bzdelik if Travis McKie and Coron Williams had indeed played their final game for Wake, or was there a possibility of another in the CBI. He demurred by saying he would leave that up to the adminstrations.
He said he knew of no plans by the administration to play in the CBI. He also said later, when asked if he would like to play, that he didn't want the season to end on such a sour note as a 29-point loss to Pitt.
Ron Wellman is sequestered (I love that word) in Indianapolis attending to his duties as the Chairman of the NCAA Basketball Committee, so I found Mike Buddie, his right-hand man, in hopes that Buddie would shoot down all the speculation.
Buddie declined to do so. He said Wake was leaving all options opened.
The ACC has been represented once in the CBI, by Virginia in 2008. John Dell, my compadre with the Journal, found Commissioner John Swofford to ask him his view of an ACC team playing in the CBI. He said there was no league policy against it, but he didn't seem overly enthusiastic about the possibility.
“We’ve left that decision on that tournament up to the individual schools,” Swofford said about the CBI. “I think we’ve had Virginia play in it one year and they are the only school from our league that’s played in it.
"I don't know. It's different than the NIT and as a league we just don't have that much experience with it.''
I covered my first college game during the 1972-73 season, so I'm about as old-school an ACC writer as anybody still in the business.
My opinion of the CBI is the same as it has been since it was spawned by the Gazelle Group six years ago,
It's beneath the ACC. It's certainly beneath a basketball program with as proud a basketball tradition as that of Wake.
Most of the players didn't know enough about the CBI or Wake's plans to offer an opinion. But one player mentioned a snag or two that would have to be untangled before Wake takes the court again as a team.
"I don't know,'' McKie said. "We just have to wait and see. It depends on the focal point of the team.
"Right now we're not very good, especially coming off a loss like that. I don't know when that decision is made. I'ver never been in that situation our (know) how the process works. But right now everybody just needs to take a break from each other and focus on their own selves. Then we can come together as a group.''
I wouldn't know why Wake would even entertain the notion, but I hope beyond hope it's not to build the case for bringing Bzdelik back a fifth year.
If Wake does lower itself to such levels, I hope somebody would have the decency not to require Randolph Childress -- as revered a basketball player as there is in school history -- to sit on the bench.
That would be harder to watch than the game.
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