Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday blog bemoans the surprisingly sloppy play in last night’s NCAA title game between North Carolina and Gonzaga.
Even before the completion of the Tar Heels’ 71 – 65 trudging victory over the Bulldogs, the luster from the annual event’s beloved “One Shining Moment” closing song had already begun to tarnish.
Few fans would disagree.
While confetti fell on the victors in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, fans continued to grumble about the underwhelming championship final. Their lament begrudgingly carried on this morning in tweets, blog posts and water cooler conversations.
Like quickly letting the air out of a Wilson basketball, last night’s title game expectation was instantly deflated. An anticipated clash of the tournament’s top seeds turned into a rec league slug fest replete with miscues. The game offered few stretches of excellent, unabated play. Marred by unnecessary whistles at times, the trudging title game witnessed 44 combined fouls.
In addition to questionable officiating, errant passing, poor decision making, missed free throws and a preponderance of air balls from otherwise excellent shooters dampened an electric atmosphere in the desert and soured an eagerly awaiting audience at home.
North Carolina & Gonzaga Marksmen Shot Blanks
For example, star marksmen from North Carolina and Gonzaga who were supposed to light up the cavernous arena with their stellar shooting, shot blanks.
The Bulldogs’ three leading scorers, Przemek Karnowski, Nigel Williams-Goss and Justin Matthews shot a woeful, combined 8 for 32 from the field. The Tar Heels’ acclaimed gunner – ACC Player-of-the-Year Justin Jackson – and his normally reliable teammates stunk it up behind the three-point line by firing an abysmal 4 – 27.
Besides the poor shooting, social media posts especially skewered the officiating. Several blatantly missed calls in the game, most notably the Kennedy Meeks’ jump ball tie up with 55 seconds remaining, flummoxed fans.
Meeks’ hand was out of bounds; however, the possession arrow was in the Tar Heels’ favor and as a result of the officiating error, UNC was able to retain the ball and extend its slim 1 point lead on a terrific Isaiah Hicks shot in the lane.
The refs played too big a role in last night’s championship contest. With so many touch fouls, more whistles were heard in University of Phoenix Stadium than in an aviary. Foul trouble plagued Gonzaga in particular as the Zags lost star freshman Zach Collins – a factor on both ends of the court.
Refs Should Let Players Play
I’ve always advocated that refs should let players play. But, last night, they didn’t. They intervened too often and adversely affected what had the makings of an excellent contest.
Quite simply, college hoops fans have gotten spoiled over the years with so many exciting, donnybrook finishes in which officiating was really never questioned.
But, last night the refs were seen and heard more often than I can ever remember in an NCAA title game.
North Carolina may have won yesterday’s title game, but college basketball fans lost when painfully watching a cumbersome contest which could have been avoided by letting the players play.
And, that’s my 2 cents!
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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!