NCAA Scores 2012: Reaction to UNC-Asheville's Close Loss to Syracuse

Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 15:  Jeremy Harn #50 of the UNC Asheville Bulldogs reacts after a play against the Syracuse Orange during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 15, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Syracuse survived a huge scare, narrowly escaping a valiant effort from UNC-Asheville in a game that will go down as one of the biggest shams in NCAA tournament history.

UNC-Asheville fell victim to a series of questionable calls that ultimately led to a loss for the No. 16 seed. The chorus of boos the officials received to close out the game was well deserved, as a combo of blown and ticky-tack calls crippled UNC-Asheville.

A lane violation call and a ball that was clearly out of bounds off of Syracuse that the refs blatantly missed doomed UNC-Asheville. This grave injustice has caused Twitter to erupt.

Not every call down the stretch was blatantly wrong, but many that were in the air went against UNC-Asheville. ESPN's Matthew Berry weighs in.

Calls for Cuse easily could have gone other way.Happy to escape. Great game by UNC-Asheville.

— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) March 15, 2012

Say what you will about the lane violation, but it's impossible to argue with the absurd out-of-bounds call that proved so costly to the Bulldogs. As USA Today's Nicole Auerbach indicates, it's a call that left even the NCAA coordinator of officiating scratching his head.

NCAA coordinator of officiating on the Syracuse out of bounds call: "He didn't get it right."

— Nicole Auerbach (@nicoleauerbach) March 15, 2012

Refs have a difficult job and they are criticized far too often, but it's well deserved here. The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz sums it up perfectly:

I rarely, rarely say anything about officiating, but that stuff at the end of the Syracuse-Asheville game was ridiculous.

— BobKravitz (@bkravitz) March 15, 2012

Whether or not you believe the latter part of Bill Walton parody Twitter Not Bill Walton's tweet, it's hard to get away from his first statement.

UNC Asheville/Syracuse. Old men just robbed hard working, honest people of their dreams. Somewhere, Mitt Romney is smiling.

— The Bill Walton Trip (@NotBillWalton) March 15, 2012

ESPN's Cindy Brunson says what everyone is thinking. Syracuse going down in the Round of 64 would cripple brackets worldwide. Thanks to the officials, disaster averted.

Welp #Syracuse survives v #UNC-Asheville. Curious about what those 3 officials brackets look like.

— Cindy Brunson (@ESPNCindyB) March 15, 2012

David Letterman funny man Eric Stangel takes a jab at Fab Melo, whose ineligibility played a huge role in this near scare.

Fab Melo's tutor apparently ref-ing today's game... #Syracuse

— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) March 15, 2012