That stung. I can’t remember a loss hurting this bad since the…gulp…Tuck Rule! And man oh man, in both cases did the referees play an integral role in the outcome.
Now, before I go any further, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: The referees did not lose the game for UNCA. UNCA lost the game for a number of reasons, and while it’s all too easy to blame the refs for this one, they weren’t the sole reason the bulldogs lost.
They were a reason, however, and that can’t be ignored.
A little background. For those of you who don’t know, I attended the UNCA from 2003-07. During that time, I attended ONE home game. Since that time, I’ve watched every game that comes on TV (which is not often). Weird, I know, but when I was in college, I didn’t really understand just how much alumni pride I would have after I graduated. Now a days, I check out Yahoo to see the UNCA box scores and pay more attention to the games than I did when I was a student.
So when UNCA drew a 16 seed and had to play Syracuse in the first round, I was well aware of how talented they were. J.P. Primm (besides being an awesome name) is a great college b-ball player and he and Matt Dickey made for a pretty formidable tandem. Add into that mix Eddie Biedenbach (really, a whole team of great names, Coach Biedenbach sounds like a character on a Saturday morning sitcom), and I knew that they were going to give Syracuse trouble.
I just didn’t know they were going to give them THAT much trouble.
The two biggest calls, in my opinion, that swung the game were the goal tending non-call (how in the world did they miss that?) which turned a possible three point play into a one point play, and, of course, the out of bounds call. That one is hard to stomach.
The main reason is that it was the end of the game and UNCA was only down by 3 when it happened. If they got the ball back, who knows how the game would’ve turned out. As it happened, the refs screwed up, and UNCA got the short end.
But alas, such is life. I won’t even go into the lane violation call–although I have never, ever, ever, ever, EVER seen that called in my life and to call it at that moment is questionable at best (wait…I think I just went into it).
The worst part of all of this was watching the Syracuse press conference. Talk about an a**hole coach and some arrogant players. They were snickering and laughing about the whole game, and when Boeheim was told that Biedenbach said that Syracuse was the better team but the better team didn’t win today, he retorted with “That’s why they have scoreboards.” After he said that, his players laughed and said, “haha, re-tweet. Re-tweet.”
(WARNING: This is going to be in all Caps)
REALLY! ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME! YOUR NUMBER ONE SEEDED TEAM ALMOST GOT BEAT BY A NUMBER SIXTEEN WHICH HAS NEVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND INSTEAD OF SAYING SOMETHING LIKE “YEAH, THEY PLAYED BETTER THAN US AND WE WERE LUCKY” YOU GO WITH “SCOREBOARD.”
AND YOU PLAYERS ALMOST HAD A HISTORICAL COLLAPSE AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS LAUGH ABOUT IT LIKE IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING?
Ok, whew, sorry, but that really pissed me off.
The thing that sucks about college basketball these days (CLIMBS UP ON SOAPBOX) is that the UNCA players and fans are going to remember this game for the rest of their lives. While twenty minutes after the game ended, the Syracuse players and Boeheim tried to act like it never happened.