Well … that’s a bit difficult to answer because you’d have to be a mind-reader to some extent. But it was absolutely criminal for the referees in Saturday’s Xavier vs Ohio St. contest not to call an obvious intentional foul on Ohio St. with about 9 seconds left in regulation. Greg Oden quite clearly committed his fifth foul in desperation purely to stop the clock, and in so doing knocked the poor Xavier player into about the 5th row of seats. There was no attempt to steal or go for the ball … he looked like a head-hunting NFL linebacker crunching an unsuspecting tight end going over the middle. Oden’s foul was either intentional or flagrant, but it certainly was not the other kind where you don’t get the ball back after free-throws. Xavier got totally screwed by the non-call since keeping possession after the FTs almost assuredly gets them the win.
I know …. I know … I know …. some of you are gonna say that Xavier just needed to make that last FT and it would be a moot point. Or if they didn’t cough up the ball carelessly on the inbounds play 45 seconds earlier, etc. Yea, BUT, BULLFECES … they put in the intentional foul rule purely to protect those who possess the ball against the kind of play we saw Oden make Saturday. This rule was put in to both speed up the end of games and for player safety. Oden was not “going for the ball” and he obviously had no regard for the health of that Xavier player. HOW COULD THE REFS IGNORE THIS???? The NCAA should suspend, fine or otherwise discipline this crew for ignoring a basic rule and $#@%*^$ up the outcome of the game.
That was yet another reminder of what I don’t like about basketball … and I like basketball A LOT. It’s just that basketball officials impact the outcome of games much more than they do in other sports. Granted it’s an extremely tough game to officiate, BUT the call they failed to make Saturday was an extremely easy one to get right and they totally blew it. Plus, I’m also jaded by a general dislike for basketball refs since I’m a coach, too … I think they all suck (but I don’t tell my players that). 🙂