Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Michigan State wins on one of the craziest finishes you'll ever see

Well, it seems like we already have a winner for this season's craziest finish.

After trailing by as much as seven in the final minute of overtime, Wisconsin hit a pair of threes sandwiching two Michigan State free throws to cut the Spartan lead to 63-60. Draymond Green was fouled, but the senior pissed both free throws, giving Wisconsin a chance to tie the game. And, initially, it looked like they did:

But when the referees went to the replay, it was clear that Evans' miracle, turn-around, banked-in three would count. According to one scoreboard, at least.

You see, in the upper deck of the Kohl Center, there in a second scoreboard with a clock on it that apparently runs at a delay of a couple tenths of a second. This scoreboard happened to be directly in the shot that was used by both ESPN to broadcast the replays nationally and by the in-house monitors that the refs -- and Bo Ryan -- were watching. To make matters even more confusing, the clock that was on the actual broadcast was even further behind, which is why the first replay makes it seem like Evans got the ball off with some time to spare.

And as you can tell from this picture, neither Bo Ryan nor the Wisconsin faithful were happy with the call.

But the right call was made. The official time is kept on the block directly above the back board that is synced with the red light. When that clock hit zeroes and the red light came on, the game was over and the ball was still in Evans' hands.

And the ramifications of that split-second go beyond the fact that Tom Izzo won his first game in the Kohl Center.

Michigan State is now sitting in first place in the Big Ten race, a game ahead of both Ohio State and Indiana and two in front of reeling Wisconsin in the loss column. The Spartans play the toughest schedule in the Big Ten this season, getting home-and-home's with each of the other five top 20 teams in the conference, and stealing a road win against one of those top 20 foes this early in league play could end up being significant later in the season.

For all the talk about Ohio State being the power in the Big Ten, people seem to be overlooking the fact that Sparty has now won 14 straight games since their back-to-back losses to open the season against Duke and North Carolina. It may be too early to call them the favorite in the Big Ten, but Ohio State certainly is going to have more competition than many of us originally expected.

The Badgers, however, miss out on an opportunity to try and turn around their early season struggles. This loss drops the Badgers to 12-4 on the season and 1-2 in league play. More importantly, however, this loss is the third that Wisconsin has suffered at home, an arena that had been one of the toughest in the country to earn a victory.

With trips to Michigan and Purdue coming up next week, its very possible that Wisconsin starts out the Big Ten season 1-4.

1 comment:

EMB said...

This was Tom Izzo's fourth victory in the Kohl Center. But the first three were before Ryan's tenure as UW head coach.