WASHINGTON, DC – It may or may not have been an NCAA play-in game. We won’t know that until Sunday.

There is 1 certainty, however.

If you’re a bubble team battling to gain one of the final at-large spots in the bracket, the last thing you want to do is give the committee a reason to leave you out of the 68-team field.

Pittsburgh succeeded in avoiding that fate on Thursday.

Wake Forest did not.

So while the 4th-seeded Panthers will get another chance to impress the committee and enhance their resume after powering their way to an 81-69 ACC Tournament quarterfinal victory, the Deacons will spend the next 3 days sweating out their NCAA fate.

Predictably, coaches Jeff Capel of Pitt and Steve Forbes of Wake spent part of their postgame press conferences advocating for the other to get into the tournament.

That’s still in the realm of possibility. You can check out the odds for each team getting a bid on most of the best betting apps.

Both can make a compelling case beyond the metrics, which had the Deacons starting the day at No. 36 in the NCAA’s NET rankings while Pitt checked in at No. 45.

The Panthers (21-10) have won 12 of 15 games, with victories at Duke and Virginia, since falling to 1-5 in the ACC on Jan. 16. The 20-13 Deacons, meanwhile, spent their first 7 games without 1 of their best players – big man Efton Reid – while he awaited NCAA eligibility as a 2-time transfer.

How much either extenuating circumstance will factor into the equation depends on the whim of the 12 individuals filling out the bracket.

Which means it’s anybody’s guess what they’ll do.

“I don’t know what they look for, so I try not to worry,” Capel said. “I just concentrate on each game, where we are right now. I don’t understand a lot of it. I don’t pay attention to it. People tell me, which makes me probably not understand it even more. I just think we’re one of the best 68 teams in the country. I think we’ve shown that over the last couple of months. We’ll see.”

Capel’s Panthers are still in a position to eliminate the human element, take the decision out of the committee’s hands and control their own postseason destiny thanks to a determined defensive effort and a 30-point performance off the bench by ACC 6th Man of the Year Ishmael Leggett.

Pitt held Wake star Hunter Sallis scoreless for the game’s first 18.5 minutes and rolled up as much as a 19-point lead before holding off a late Deacons rally to advance into Friday’s semifinal against top-seeded North Carolina.

Should it win there and again in Saturday’s final, it would earn the automatic NCAA bid that goes to the ACC’s tournament champion.

“All we know is the more games we win, the more chances we get to get a bid,” said Panthers star Blake Hinson. “That’s our only focus.”

As for Wake Forest, all it can do now is sit around and wait.

Forbes has already tried to do little advanced intel on the vibe of the committee from one of its members, North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. He may also have done a little politicking.

Not that it will help any. It didn’t for Florida State’s football team. And NC State AD Boo Corrigan was the chairman of that committee.

The decision to keep the Seminoles out of the College Football Playoff, however, could eventually help the Deacons’ chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.

A lot will depend on the criteria the committee uses to judge teams.

“It’s different people, a different deal but we have a good team,” Forbes said. “I firmly believe that if we get in the tournament, we can win. It’s not going to be charity now. Nobody is going to play us if we get in there.”

Not only did Forbes bring up the FSU situation, in which a season-ending injury to quarterback Jordan Travis was the excuse used for snubbing the undefeated Seminoles, he also mentioned a recent interview with a basketball committee member suggesting Indiana State could get special consideration because of an extenuating circumstance.

The Sycamores lost both games in which starting forward Jayson Kent was sidelined with a concussion.

If those 2 games aren’t held against Indiana State, then the 7 games Wake played before Reid joined the team, in which it went 4-3, shouldn’t factor in the committee’s decision either.

In the meantime, Forbes plans to stay busy by catching up on episodes of the World War II drama series Masters of the Air. His players will use the opportunity to rest and prepare to play again, which they’re all but guaranteed to do next week.

Even if it’s only hosting a first-round NIT game.

RELATED: Interested in wagering on the ACC Tournament? Duke is +180 via FanDuel. North Carolina is +175 via Caesars.