Sunday, March 20, 2011 will go down as "Bad Ref Day" in the sports world. That's because three suspect calls helped decide three NCAA Tournament games.
WASHINGTON CLOCK: The first happened in the UNC-Washington game. The ball went out of bounds with about 1.1 seconds left ... but the clock stopped with 0.5 seconds left. All of that was legal since the clock is supposed to stop when the whistle is blown and not when the ball hits out of bounds. The official may have blew the whistle too late but there is that human reaction time that does factor in.
However, the official's mistake was to not even bother to check the replay to adjust the time. Probably the officals would have tacked on those extra tenths of a second that would've given the Huskies a much better chance at hitting a tying three at the buzzer.
TEXAS' FIVE SECONDS: As everyone has been pointing out, the referee blew the whistle too early this time. With Texas attempting to inbound the ball, the ref clearly counts to four and then blows the whistle. That allowed Arizona to get the ball back on their own baseline.
At the time, the Longhorns were up by two. On the ensuing inbounds play, Arizona's Derrick Williams scored on a blind shot and was fouled. Williams hit the free throw to take a one point lead. After the game, Williams admitted that he felt no contact.
SYRACUSE BACKCOURT: This one has been up for debate. With the game tied, Syracuse was called for an over-and-back violation. Scoop Jardine was in the front court, lept in the air and caught the ball. When he landed, one foot was touching the midcourt line.
There has been much controversy on the interwebs about this call. I've seen no one on TV argue this call, but the blogosphere and message boards are debating this quite a bit. You ARE allowed to receive the ball in the backcourt on an inbounds play. However, Jardine wasn't established in the backcourt (he left from the frontcourt) so the call doesn't apply here. Still, with all of the uproar among the fans, you'd think someone would give a decent explaination of the rule.