Win or lose on Friday, it’s another end-of-season collapse for the Red Wolves.

On January 22, the Red Wolves hosted the Texas State and pounded the Bobcats for Arkansas State’s 4th conference victory (13th overall). The next day, I declared that it was time to deliver to Mike Balado the credit that is due. The Red Wolves were in the midst of a storied season, highlighted by the rise of a genuine super star in Norchad Omier and the return of hometown hero Desi Sills. At last, A-State basketball fans had been led out of the wilderness. All was well.

One month later, the Red Wolves have lost six of their last nine, the last a home loss to 8th place Coastal Carolina. It was yet another loss where the Red Wolves had once enjoyed a double digit lead. Talk of winning the conference – or even gaining one of four first round tournament byes – has been replaced with an all too familiar dark grumbling.

There is a time-tested tradition at Arkansas State – the end of season basketball collapse. It predates Mike Balado. He’s only the ritual’s current caretaker. Going back 10 season before this one, the Red Wolves have finished the last five games with a winning record exactly one time (2012-13).

SeasonLast 5 (Regular Season)Record
* Tx St games canceled
** 1-9 last 10
*** 2-5 last 9
**** 0 last 9

As it stands today, the Red Wolves have lost three of its last four with Appalachian State arriving for the season finale on Friday. There’s no avoiding this damned curse. It will be yet another end of season meltdown. What happens to Red Wolves basketball in February? Does the nutritional staff put a hold on protein bars? Has the seasonal depression suddenly set in? Is the team distracted by the baseball season?

The latest Jenga-tower tumble is simply another block to apply to the stack. We’ve sifted through this rubble now for more than a decade. We no longer even choke on the dust.

Photo Credit: MINE