Sunday, March 20, 2011

What was Pittsburgh thinking?!?

If you watched the end of the Pittsburgh-Butler game on TBS tonight, you saw one of the craziest endings of a college basketball game in recent history, if not the craziest ending ever, especially for that of an NCAA tournament game. The ending of this game, no doubt, will be the most talked about item by far about this year's tournament.

Here is the rundown of the play by play:
0:01 Foul on Shelvin Mack 70-69 (BUTLER)
0:01 70-70 Gilbert Brown made Free Throw. (PITTSBURGH)
0:01 70-70 Gilbert Brown missed Free Throw. (PITTSBURGH)
0:01 Matt Howard Defensive Rebound. 70-70 (BUTLER)
0:01 70-70 Foul on Nasir Robinson (PITTSBURGH)
0:01 Matt Howard made Free Throw. 71-70 (BUTLER)
0:01 Matt Howard missed Free Throw. 71-70 (BUTLER)
0:01 71-70 Brad Wanamaker Defensive Rebound. (PITTSBURGH)
0:00 End Game

Shelvin Mack bumped Gilbert Brown out of bounds. Tough call but the right call was made. That fould brought Pitt to the line with a 70-69 score. Shelvin Mack should have just stayed clear of the guy that he ended up fouling. With the amount of time left on the clock, Butler wins.

While going up for the rebound off of Gilbert Brown's missed free throw, Nasir Robinson went over Matt Howard's back with less than a second remaining. The replays shown that there was, indeed, a foul committed.

While I highly doubt that Jamie Dixon teaches his players to foul like that, it's something that coaches are likely to bring up with their players in the future.

Over at ESPN in the game recap, officials comment on the end of the game.
Officials Terry Wymer, Antonio Petty and crew chief John Higgins were front and center at the end of Saturday's Pittsburgh-Butler game. Wymer called the foul that sent Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown to the free throw line with 1.4 seconds left. After Brown tied the game, Petty made the foul call on Nasir Robinson that sent Matt Howard to the line for what proved to be the winning free throw.

Higgins talked to a pool reporter about why the officials checked the monitors after both fouls.

"When we recognized the foul [on Shelvin Mack], we got the clock stopped, went to the monitor. [Wymer] was right at 1.4 so that's where we put the clock," Higgins said, adding that a foul call is not reviewable.

"When the second foul happened [on Nasir Robinson], we looked at it. We went to the monitor, checked when the foul occurred and the fist came up and then set the clock."

Higgins said he the controversial ending of the Rutgers-St. John's game last week at the Big East tournament did not affect the officials' decision-making.

"We do it every day," he said. "It just happened to be a crucial part of the game. You have to do what you have to do as an official. If we get it right, we're good. If we get it wrong, we're deadbeats and we're all over SportsCenter. We did what we think is correct."

--Dana O'Neil
On Inside March Madness, the postgame special airing on TBS, the fouls were the right calls and not controversial.

But still, Shelvin Mack is likely grateful that Butler ended up winning.

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