|Syracuse demonstrated how to NOT make the cover of the NY Post|
Syracuse survived against UNC Asheville yesterday, but today everyone across the country, and especially on sports talk radio, is still howling about the game - or more accurately howling about the officiating at the end of the game.
Let's get this right out of the way - as Brent Axe has articulated so eloquently, the officiating throughout the entire game was abysmal. While I can certainly understand why UNC Asheville was upset, there were missed calls on both sides that affected the outcome. There was the end of the first half fiasco when Triche was fouled before the shot clock expired, the phantom goaltending call that gave UNCA two points in the first half and a myriad of ticky tack fouls that shouldn't have been called against either team.
At the end of the day, if this game can spur the NCAA can do something to improve officiating, that will be a win. Granted I don't think it will happen, but it is clear something needs to be done.
However, everyone is still talking about the game today for two main reasons:
1) It was a 16 seed almost beating a one seed.
2) Other than the Wichita State - VCU game, it was a day that lacked a lot of drama and close games. In prior years, with upsets and fantastic finishes, people would still be talking, but not to this extent. However, yesterday the games weren't close and went mainly according to seed, so something like this is red meat for everyone who makes their living opining about sports.
What is ironic about the whole situation is the contrast to what happened to Syracuse in last year's tournament. You remember that - when a missed call cost Syracuse a chance to beat Marquette. Then again, maybe you don't because the incident was barely reported on. The common thread in both last year's situation and this year's is the fact that announcers working the games didn't know the rules of the college game.
Against Marquette, the missed over and back call against Jardine wasn't emphasized because the announcing team didn't know the rule and thought the call was correct. Against UNCA, Cheryl Miller's brother (who has no business working NCAA games) went nuts on the correctly applied lane violation call and got everyone all spun up.
Look, the officiating was bad, but the refs didn't steal this for UNC Asheville. They didn't help them, but that's life. So Eddie Biedenbach claiming the better team didn't win is just an emotional coach after a tough loss. Again, I get why he said it, but he's wrong. At the end of the day if Syracuse makes a deep run, no one will remember this game. If they get bounced early, it will live in infamy.
A couple of thoughts on the game
- Syracuse played awful. Scoop, Kris Joseph and CJ Fair have all be MIA for the last 4 games. I have no idea how they turn it around.
- Kansas State should be licking its chops right now.
- How do you come out flat for a game like this?
- Syracuse should have pressed and tried to change tempo. Instead Boeheim sat in the zone and let Asheville hang around. The Orange had twice as many athletes but Boeheim's style let a lesser opponent hang around. The only answer to why is that JB is stubborn. Sometimes that stubbornness works in his favor, sometimes it does not. Yesterday it did not.
- Besides if you press Baye Keita can actually be useful protecting the rim at the back end of the press.
- That was the least amount of fun I've had watching a game this year - and it's not even close.
- Boeheim escalating a fight with Arne Duncan is Boeheim being Boeheim at this point. He can't NOT be confrontational. The guy probably kills flies with a shotgun.
Syracuse - Kansas State is at 12:15 on St. Patrick's Day. By 2:15 you'll know if you're drinking because you're happy or drinking because you're sad. Right now I have no idea what it will be.