Perhaps, if they knew Wichita State would later accomplish an increasingly rare feat in the ever-evolving world of college basketball, the disappointment on the faces of those young men on Mar. 21, 2013 might have been assuaged.
But the pain of postseason failure won't subside for the remaining members of last year's Pitt squad until it finds postseason success, which has become increasingly rare to the Panthers since their lightning-in-a-bottle Elite Eight berth in 2009.
"It's definitely motivation. The heartbreak was crazy," redshirt senior forward Lamar Patterson said. "You never want to leave the [NCAA] Tournament that early, and I know what has to be done in order to do that."
Patterson need not elaborate. Not that there's ever a convenient time to play poorly, but several Panthers, on their brief trip to Salt Lake City, picked the worst possible time for one of the worst possible efforts of their collegiate careers. The Lancaster, Pa., native, who shot 1-for-7 from the field that day, knows he is not exempt from that criticism.
We, on the other hand, will elaborate, because much has to be done for this Pitt team to shed its label of mediocrity now that a substandard stretch of stretch-run play in its first ACC season has left it in limbo.
The answers to the following five questions will decide the Panthers' fate.