Sunday, March 20, 2011

Last 7 Seconds of Butler-Pitt NCAA Tournament Thriller: Did The Refs Get It Completely Right?

As I watch this ending again, two things strike me:

1) Why wasn't Pitt awarded three foul shots when Butler's Shelvin Mack fouled Gilbert Brown with 1.4 seconds left? The refs arm clearly goes up after Brown releases the shot and no "wave off" is given.

2) On the flip side, why wasn't Butler awarded three shots too when they were fouled on the missed free throw?

I think both foul calls were correct, but based on the replay it looks like Pitt should have gotten three shots instead of two.  The back ref does not make a definitive call either way for three shots given or to wave off the shot. 

If you remember the controversial Rutgers-St Johns Big East Tournament game ending, the refs  could not review the St. Johns playing stepping out of bounds or the clock because no definitive call was made on that play.

Fans complain when refs swallow their whistle late.  These refs did the right thing and called the game for all 40 minutes, but shouldn't they also have to make definitive calls for all 40 minutes too? 

Why can refs change or add onto/subtract from their calls in the final seconds, but not go to the video monitor to review foul calls earlier in the game?  Wouldn't those calls be just as important?

Despite how crazy the ending was and how the refs may have botched it, I want to give Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens some major kudos for how he kept his poise at the end of the game and especially after. In the post game interview you could tell how relieved he was with the win, but also how bad he felt for Pitt.

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