As the Mountaineers cheerful announcers reminded us often, the Red Wolves had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game.

Yes, Balado has rough edges. He is not shy about dropping F-bombs – a sin some people in Jonesboro find as egregious as kicking puppies and skipping church. His early teams were a mess (he’ll tell you that some guys no longer rostered just didn’t buy into the program). Many people believe that five years was too slow to turn the program around – as if the program hasn’t underperformed for thirty years. He’s a Floridian who speaks with a Bronx accent (at least to my Southern ears), and his temper flareups are unseemly to a righteous fanbase who see Hugh Freeze has the Christian epitome of leadership.