NCAA Bracket 2012: 10 Most Bone-Headed Moments of March Madness
There are so many things that can go wrong in an NCAA tournament game. Just ask Chris Webber and his timeout that didn't exist. Ask those who decided to not put a hand on Tyus Edney on his way to the basket.
Ask Seton Hall's Gerald Greene, who had a questionable foul called against him, which likely cost the Pirates a national championship. Ask Fred Brown for making the most memorable turnover in tournament history. Ask the defenders who saw buzzer-beaters go in over their heads without putting a hand up to defend. Ask the coaches who couldn't figure out to guard the star player from the opposing team.
Every year, there is another questionable move to be dissected. The hope is that yours isn't the one that history remembers vividly. By this weekend, we will know our Final Four and the look back at this tournament can truly begin. Without wanting to wait, here are 10 moments from this March that we can look back at now and ask, "What were they thinking?"
Baylor's Jersey Selection
Look at these ugly things. I know that a few different teams have worn similar designs, but these are the absolute worst color. To think that we could have even been talking about Louisville, who has the tiger stripes despite having the nickname of Cardinals. Instead, we are talking about the ugly jerseys of the Baylor Bears.
I can only wonder how many issues there have been in games Baylor has played with those uniforms. Do they need to adjust the settings with TV cameras in order to not have the Baylor players be a blur? Are there additional turnovers from players being blinded by those uniforms? If you keep staring at them, they make you want to go pee. Seriously, try it.
Shot Selection Between Temple and South Florida
At the end of the first half, the second-round matchup between South Florida and Temple had the Owls leading the Bulls by a score of 19-15. I'm talking about basketball here, not football.
Of those points, 15 points were scored in the first half by both teams and their free-throw shooting. That's also the same amount of points South Florida scored in the entire first half. Without a three-pointer made in the first minute and one in the last two minutes, which were the last points of the half, South Florida would have scored just nine points in 20 minutes of basketball.
Someone spoke to South Florida in the second half because they actually decided to shoot baskets then. They outscored Temple 43-25 after the intermission and all was right with the world for South Florida fans.
Colorado State's 21 Turnovers
Murray State likes to steal the ball from teams. What team wouldn't like to do that? That's a thought that should have gone through the minds of Colorado State players at least once in their second-round game. Any one of those 21 times would have been better.
Murray State was playing this game in Louisville, which was basically a home game for them. Colorado State barely made the field out of the Mountain West conference. Needless to say, Murray felt at home in the arena, especially with their fanbase making the journey to the game.
There was actually a one-point lead for Colorado State at halftime, but only 17 points were scored by the Rams in the second half. Murray took advantage and moved on.
Iona Forgetting to Play Defense
Your team is up 25 points in the second half? Forget about it! You're good to go. For Iona, it was time to keep on dancing, proving wrong those that thought the Gaels shouldn't have made the field at all. With the First Four game all but over, it was time to focus on Marquette in the next round and shock the world.
Well, the shocking of the world was done a little bit earlier than that. The game wasn't quite over and BYU knew that. The 25-point lead vanished and Iona fell 78-72. Suddenly, they were gone from the tournament entirely.
It was almost like watching the basketball equivalent of The Tortoise and The Hare. The Hare jumps out to a large lead, waits for the slow Tortoise and when it is a race again, cannot start back up in time to win the race.
Colorado Not Defending Brady Heslip
Colorado had been one of the hot stories in college basketball in recent weeks. In their first year under the Pac-12 conference, Colorado was hoping for another NIT bid over anything else. It was the horrible Pac-12 conference tournament, though. Anyone could win it and one team did, unexpectedly.
The conference tournament victory gave Colorado an automatic bid and a No. 11 seed in the difficult South region. Colorado matched up successfully with UNLV and upset them in the second round, which set up a Round of 32 clash with Baylor. These two teams faced each other as recently as last season, when both were members of the Big 12 conference.
There were only three games all season that Brady Heslip did not hit a three-pointer for Baylor. Surely, he would come up in the scouting report for Colorado. I guess they just felt that Heslip wouldn't get very hot. He did, though. He found his stroke...nine times.
When you lose by 17 and you let a scrawny 180-pound kid score 27 points on your defense, it's easy to point out what happened.
Roscoe Smith Chucks It
Bless Roscoe Smith's heart. He means so well when he gets the ball in his hands with the clock ticking down. He was murdered on ESPN for this blunder that happened last season against Texas. Surely, he wouldn't do such a thing again, especially on the grand stage of the NCAA tournament.
Well, he did. Smith chucked the ball down court prior to the buzzer yet again. I won't say it is why UConn lost, because they played a bad game all around, but come on, Roscoe!
Jamar Samuels and His Heavier Wallet
Jamar Samuels only had one point in his game against Southern Miss, but he had been huge all season for Kansas State. The second leading scorer on the team was a senior in his last chance to make a splash in the tournament. Samuels averaged 10 points and over six rebounds per game during the season and pulled down eight boards to help against Southern Miss. For their game against Syracuse, he helped Kansas State lose by not playing.
Samuels, just minutes before taking on the Orange, was deemed ineligible to play in the game. It was revealed later on that Samuels had received improper benefits within the last 24 hours and was suspended for that very reason. The person giving things to Samuels was his old AAU coach. The amount of money given: $200.
Was it worth it?
Lane Violations...Both of Them
It's a rule that is rather basic in basketball but seldom called. When someone is shooting a free throw, you don't step into the lane. It's called a lane violation and you get to try that free throw again. The only exception is when it is the second of two shots or it is a one-and-one situation. However, it is a violation if someone is in the lane during the act of shooting. It's almost like interference.
The world found out about another situation where that rule applies. If a shooter is in the act of shooting a free throw, someone from the backcourt, meaning someone not lined up alongside the shooter, cannot come across the free throw line until after the ball has hit the rim. It reminds me of how a runner in Little League baseball cannot try to steal a base until the pitch has hit the glove of the catcher.
This is a rule that isn't always enforced, but it probably should be. It was enforced twice in this tournament in very big situations. It is one of those calls that was blamed for costing UNC-Asheville an upset over top-seeded Syracuse. However, the bigger blunder was for Notre Dame, who did it during their own free throws in the second round against Xavier. Notre Dame was down two at the time with two free throws pending. The lane violation wiped those free throws out and likely cost them overtime.
St. Bonaventure Trying for 2 Points Instead of 3
Let's paint a picture here for a moment, shall we?
St. Bonaventure is currently down three points with 14 seconds remaining. Attempting to keep their chances against Florida State alive, the Bonnies need to score. For Da'Quan Cook, that apparently means a quick basket. While that is technically right, any basket will lead to a foul and a free-throw trip for their opponent.
However, the lead is only three. For a team that was 7-of-14 from behind the arc in that game, not trying for a three-pointer to force overtime is not a good place to be in as a coach or player. Know the situation and pull it off. It could have been St. Bonaventure we were talking about against Ohio State last night instead of Cincinnati.
Referees Not Calling Ball off Syracuse
It will be the lasting image of this game and, until a No. 16 seed can pull off the ultimate upset, it will be the face of the No. 16 vs. No. 1 matchups. In many eyes from that second-round game between Syracuse and UNC-Asheville, the lower-seeded team should have won.
The moment seems to freeze in time as one of the worst calls from a referee at a time where the entire world watches on. It clearly goes off of a Syracuse player, but the ball is said to have been off of an Asheville man. Things feel unusual. The first Asheville player to touch the ball is the man on the bench who gets the ball directed at him. Replays clearly can show a Syracuse player as the only one touching it. Now that it has been rarely played since happening (watch it and judge for yourself).
There could have been any number of things that kept Syracuse on the winning side of the scoreboard, but history loves to pick and choose moments from games like this. They'll always assume that, had Asheville been given the fair breaks rightfully deserved by them, this could have been an entirely different game. However, the idea that Syracuse could have still won this game, even without the controversy, will be a forgotten idea for years to come. If Syracuse wins this tournament, naysayers will go back to this game and wonder what could have been.
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