Controversy over UCLA-SMU goaltend just won't go away

BY foxsports • March 19, 2015

So was it goaltending? Or wasn't it?

It's the play everyone's talking about after Thursday's NCAA tournament action. With his team trailing 59-57 in the closing seconds against SMU, UCLA's Bryce Alford fired up a 3-pointer. It was off-line. SMU's Yanick Moreira jumped to take it out of the air, only he made contact with the ball right at the rim.

The officials ruled it goaltending, the Bruins staved off the Mustangs' last gasp, and No. 11 seed UCLA had itself a most controversial 60-59 second-round NCAA tournament victory in Louisville, Ky.

The game may be over, but the debate rages: Should it have really been goaltending, or did the refs botch a call that wound up costing the Mustangs their NCAA dreams?

First, take a look at a couple images of the moment Moreira's hand touches the ball (you can see the play here):

Now, let's go to the actual rule book. According to the NCAA, if "any part of the ball is above the rim" on its "downward flight," it’s goaltending, provided the ball "has a possibility of entering the basket."

The ball is certainly above the rim and on its downward flight, but it's that last part that might give you pause. Did that ball have a chance of going in? Tough to say it did when slowed down and dissected from several angles, but the play is not reviewable. In real time, it's a tough call.

Our Stewart Mandel says the call was by the book and you should not blame the refs. John Adams, the NCAA's National Coordinator of Officiating, said there's enough reason to think the ball might've had a chance off the rim:

If that's not enough to convince you, no less an authority than Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant agrees with Mandel and Adams:

As for others? Well, some didn't take too kindly to the positioning of the official who made the goaltending call, citing the likely troubles with depth perception from his angle:

SMU coach Larry Brown -- who's seen a few games in his day -- did his best to be diplomatic and said he's "never" seen a game end like that:

And of course Twitter was quick to weigh in, where the verdict was not so unanimous:

What do you think? Good call or no? Let us know in the comments below.