NCAA Tournament: Questionable Officiating Causing Plenty of Madness In March
NCAA Tournament Sees Questionable Calls from Officials in Two Prominent Nail-Biters
There's a saying among officials that goes something like, "If nobody knows your name by the end of the game, then you know you've done your job."
Leading up to the NCAA Tournament, officiating coordinator John Adams put his name on the line, saying, “We don’t want to become the story," as pointed out by the New York Times' Pete Thamel.
Considering Thamel's article was titled, "Officials Become the Story of Butler-Pittsburgh Game," you know where this is heading.
Two games in particular have come into question after controversial calls so far: Butler-Pittsburgh and, today, Washington-North Carolina.
It's worth noting that in both games there have been no complaints about the officiating from coaches or players.
But that hasn't stopped onlookers from giving their opinion.
Two questionable calls in the late seconds of the Butler-Pittsburgh games particularly peeved the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan:
It all comes down to my premise that there is one, and only one, question every official, at every level, must ask himself or herself prior to every game.
That question is "Why am I here?"
The answer is "To ajudicate the smooth flow of the game, using the rules, and when applicable, my common sense."
Were the officials in question utilizing my philosophy, the Pitt-Butler game would have ended with no fouls being called.
The main argument, as Ryan points out, is not whether there were clear fouls during the Pittsburgh-Butler game, but whether they should have been called given the circumstances.
I don't agree with Ryan's assessment in his column that Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown trailing an errant inbounds pass at halfcourt would have amounted to nothing if he wasn't fouled by Shelvin Mack (he could have caught up to it and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, it's happened all the time in the tournament).
But I do agree that the foul called on Pitt's Nasir Robinson against Matt Howard off a missed free throw and ensuing rebound was laughable.
OK, I get that Robinson grabbed Howard going for a rebound, but Howard ended up with the ball and it should have gone into overtime right there.
A ticky-tack foul 90 feet from the basket should not determine who moves on to the next round.
As for the Washington-UNC game, all I can say is, "Wow."
The North Carolina Tar Heels could very well have seen the game go into overtime.
In the final seconds, the jittery John Henson first tried to grab an airball headed out of bounds that would have given the Tar Heels the ball, instead it bouncing off his fingers and giving the Huskies one last shot.
The next play saw Henson apparently goaltend on the final shot attempt by the Huskies, but that wouldn't have mattered anyway because the Huskies were down by three points and Isaiah Thomas stepped on the 3-point line on the shot.
What really irked me, and many after the game, was when Henson's fumble went out of bounds, there was still about 1.2 seconds remaining in the game.
But the clock wasn't stopped until the official's whistle, dropping the clock down to 0.5 seconds.
That's a drastic change for a last-second shot.
That can be the difference between a better look at a 3-pointer and a wild shot, which it ultimately ended up being.
The worst part of it was the officials decided not to check video for the right time in a crucial moment of the game.
It marks careless officiating, something that has no place in the NCAA Tournament.
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