Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two games, two controversial finishes

Its a shame really.

On a day that saw two fantastic basketball games, two exciting finishes, and our Final Four filled out, the talk after the games had much less to do with the outcome itself than with how we got there.

It started with JP Prince, who is just 48 hours removed from a game saving block against Evan Turner and Ohio State. On Sunday, it looked like he may have had another, as Prince came from the weak side to help on Raymar Morgan, who had slid behind the Tennessee defense.

Prince went up for the block, and upon replay appears to have gotten all ball. Have a look:

I've now watched this replay at good 12 times, and I think the referees absolutely made the right call. We can debate all day about whether or not Prince made contact, but Brian Williams absolutely did. If Prince wasn't there and Morgan had been able to go straight up, I bet Williams would have been called for a foul anyway.

The fact of the matter is that he came down full force with his left arm from the peak of his jump and knocked the ball loose with his elbow. Whether or not there actually was any contact (which I believe there was), the play just looked funny. It looked like it should be a foul. I'm not defending it, and I'm not saying that it is right, but 99% of the time a foul is going to be called in that situation.

And to be perfectly honest, Tennessee fans, if you want to complain about anything, complain about Scotty Hopson missing a free throw. Complain about someone -- Williams? -- forgetting to guard Raymar Morgan at the rim with under 10 seconds left. That is inexcusable, the kind of dumb, careless play that made people doubt a team with the talent that Tennessee had.

The score was tied with 11 seconds left and Tennessee still had a free throw to shoot. They missed the free throw and didn't guard the guy standing under the basket. Getting mad at the ref for calling that foul is like getting mad at the cop that gave you a speeding ticket when you were going 90 in a 55.

And of course, since the second game of the day was Duke-Baylor, you had to have known that there was going to be some sort of referee conspiracy.

There was.

It is centering around two separate calls. The first was a charge on Quincy Acy. I'm sure you have all seen it by now but here is the video:

This is about as close as you can get when dealing with a charge/block call. Zoubek might have been a little late getting set, but Acy leans in with his shoulder and his elbow on the play. Tough call either way, and far from an egregious error.

Its effect on the game was minimal as well. Let's be clear: Duke did not win this game because of this one call. Duke won because they got 23 offensive rebounds. Duke won because Baylor played as poorly as they have all season defensively. Duke won because they made their threes -- 48% -- and Baylor didn't -- 28%. Duke won because they got four offensive rebounds late in the game that led to three three pointers and one three point play. Duke won because Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer (49 points, 9-16 threes, 3 turnovers) outplayed LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter (34 points, 4-15 threes, 6 turnovers).

Just like Tennessee, the Baylor players decided this game. Not the refs. 21 fouls were called against Baylor, 15 against Duke (Baylor had to foul down the stretch). The only players to foul out were Zoubek and Josh Lomers, and they foul out all the time.

As far as the Jon Scheyer elbow goes, I think it is ridiculous that Acy got a technical foul and Scheyer didn't. I'm not saying Acy deserved one, either, I just don't think it is right to give a T to the kid coming in to defend his teammate and not to the kid that threw the elbow.

Here's the video:

If Scheyer landed that elbow, what happens?

Keep in mind, however, that this game was already decided when Scheyer started throw them 'bows. Tech or no tech, the only people it effected were the gamblers.

Don't let a disagreement with the way some whistles went ruin what was a couple good games.

1 comment:

AJ said...

I wish the controversial term would stop being thrown around. These judgement calls are made in every game yet only during big games or when certain teams win/lose will these 'controversial endings' get press.

1. Certainly looked like a foul to me, maybe called on the wrong guy but MSU deserved to go to the line.

2. Block but bang bang play. Interesting to note that another call around this time is not mentioned despite being a huge error. Singler fouled while shooting and the refs call it a non-shooting foul and take it out of bounds. Can anyone explain why he wasn't shooting two? Better yet, why isn't anyone even mentioning the play? That's right, it went against Duke and therefore doesn't fit with complaining that Duke had help.

3. Only reason Scheyer looks bad because one arm came off the ball but it only did because the guy ripped it off after the whistle. Does Acy deserve one? Yes because Scheyer walked away and Smith headed towards his teammate when Acy who wasn't even part of the trap makes a b-line for opposing players and bumps one and then woofs up a storm. Acy not only made contact with a opposing player for no reason after the play was over but took a done and over situation and escalated it back into a possible bad situation. Both Baylor guys who trapped Scheyer and had the elbows swung near them were walking towards the Baylor bench for a timeout. As bad as people want to make Scheyer out in this the two guys with the most reason to be mad about elbows because they could have been hit by them did not chase Scheyer to show displeasure. They didn't get emotional. They were heading to their bench when Acy, a teammate not involved in the play, went after Scheyer. Physical contact after a play and escalation from a player not even involved in the play. Where is the controversy in that?