I did pretty well on my bracket. I missed three games, two of which were only supposed to win a single game. Those were Colorado St. and UNLV, if you're curious. The other was Wichita St., which I had getting to the Sweet 16. No big losses yet.
Syracuse would have been a big loss, but I would have liked to see it. I still think we should have seen it, too. A goaltend that went uncalled, eerily similar to when Syracuse squeaked by West Virginia. A three-pointer that hit the top of the backboard. A lane violation. An shamefully wrong out-of-bounds call. Add to that I thought Asheville was getting the short end of the contact stick all game long, and I think the Bulldogs were robbed.
Part of the problem, though, is I think Reggie was thinking of professional rules the whole time. Now, obviously I am a huge, huge fan of Reggie Miller and would never talk bad about him. But I think his interpretation of both the backboard rule and the lane rule I don't think were right for the college game.
Let's start with the backboard rule. What happened in the Syracuse game was the Orange launched a three from the corner. It hit the top of the backboard. With Asheville players pointing towards the sky, Syracuse took the rebound and put it in. Reggie said it didn't hit the shot clock or any other piece of equipment, so that was kosher. That's true in the NBA, but I'm not as convinced about the NCAA. If that were the rule, then rebounds that go over the backboard but don't hit anything shouldn't be waved off as out-of-bounds, which definitely happened in the disappointing IU-NM St. game.
The lane violation I still don't know if it were a bad call or not, to be honest. Again, in the NBA, it was clearly a bad call, as you can get into the lane or cross the three point line as soon as the ball leaves his hands. I'm not as confident in this one, but I thought the ball had to hit the rim before those things can happen in college ball. I'd like to get better clarification on that rule from somebody who wasn't one of the terrible refs or a coach in that game before I really decide how terrible that call was.
The out-of-bounds play is what really burned me. There was no question whatsoever that the ball went out off of Syracuse. None at all. No matter how many times you look at it, Asheville did not come close to touching that ball. The only explanation is they called the ball out of bounds for Syracuse instead of calling a foul on Asheville. That happens, we all know that happens. But that can't happen at that moment in that game. Including yesterday's games, 1 seeds are 109-0 against 16 seeds. There have been some close calls, but nobody has ever climbed that mountain. In a game that tight and that historic, you need to call that game as you see it. If there was a foul, call the foul. If you didn't call the foul, then you need to call the ball as it went. No trade offs. All you're going to do is piss off the nation and could very well keep you from ever doing a tournament game again. You know that call is going come up again and again during tournament coverage and every time there's a close call with a 1 seed. And you're going to get folks upset about it all over again.
All right, games start in under an hour. Got to get ready for another day on the couch.