It’s hard — and our only experience is with youth leagues. We can’t imagine officiating the higher levels of the sport. Usually, we’re willing to cut the refs a little slack as a result.
But man, oh man, the end of Syracuse’s Sweet 16 win over Gonzaga was almost as bad as Notre Dame’s victory over Wisconsin.
As we noted in breaking down the end of that game, we’re not here to belittle the victors. A win is the result of everything that happens over 40 minutes and not just the breaks of the game in the final 60 seconds or so. And in fact, the Orange were the more aggrieved party in their game; fortunately for Jim Boeheim’s bunch, they escaped with a win despite being whistled for an out-of-bounds violation on this play:
No, your eyes do not deceive you: Syracuse’s Trevor Cooney, who had just stolen the balll, is pretty clearly standing on the right side of the line in that photo. It’s close, but he managed to come to a stop before stepping out. Yet multiple reviews weren’t enough to overturn the call.
For his part, Boeheim was gracious in discussing the call after the win:
“It was important that we made a stop at the end because after looking at that picture after the game, it looked like he was not out of bounds, so that would have been a tough way to lose,” Boeheim said. “But I don’t know if they could see that picture or not. I don’t know what happened.”
But back to the game. The night couldn’t end without a little bit more controversy. Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon came up with a game-clinching block before knocking down two clutch free throws. Gonzaga fans, however, would likely argue that he committed a foul:
We don’t believe in make-up calls, to be frank. Sometimes, though, the universe just has a way of evening out.