Thursday, March 10, 2011

It Ain't Over Until.....

The fat lady sings? Til its over? Or in the case of Rutgers vs. St. John's in the Big East Tournament, it ain't over until there are 3 seconds left on the clock and the refs decide to turn off their brains. At least that's the way it seemed.

The final few seconds of Wednesday's second round game have been discussed and dissected all afternoon. If you haven't seen it yet, give a look here. Prior to the plays seen here, there were a few other questionable no calls that didn't go the way of the Scarlet Knights. Let the "St. John's back on a national stage playing at MSG" conspiracy begin.

Daily Onions isn't going to talk conspiracy theory. But here's what we will talk about. We are going to talk about how the refs completely shut it down a few seconds early. We are going to talk about Mike Rice doing what he does best, freaking out on the sideline. And we are going to talk about St. John's Justin Brownlee not knowing how to win, but we are sure this is a lesson that he never forgets.

First things first: To referees Jim Burr, Tim Higgins, and Earl Walton - go to your room. Why don't you sit the next few games out, because we aren't going to need you at the Big East Tournament any more. Three veteran officials making a horrible mistake. Bottom line, they didn't close out the game (and you thought the Miami Heat were the only people that didn't know how to close out a basketball game). They reffed for 39 minutes and 57 seconds. Three seconds is all it takes to stir up a pretty big controversy and give Big East officials a black eye. Should these refs be penalized? Absolutely. This wasn't a judgment call that could have gone either way. This was the refs blatantly ignoring two or three violations in the final three seconds that directly effected the outcome of the game. If we were the Big East, we'd suspend them for the rest of the tournament, and then leave it up to the NCAA to decide whether they ref in the Big Dance.

Guessing Rice didn't like this particular call (US Presswire)
Next on the list is Rutgers head coach, Mike Rice. Let's say this first. We love your passion for the game of basketball, and we think you will turn the Rutgers program around in the next 2-3 years. With that said, the sideline antics need to be toned a bit. We've been saying it all season long. In Wednesday's game, with three seconds left, you were so worried about a no foul call, that you didn't even see that there was a possible travel, an out of bounds violation and the ball being tossed into the crowd. Not that seeing those plays happen would have changed the outcome (since there was no whistle blown, the plays were not reviewable), but maybe if you weren't ready to take out Jim Burr, he would have gotten his butt in position to make a call. It seems like this year in college basketball has been one of the worst officiating years in recent memory, as well as a lot of coaches gone wild on the sidelines. Both parties need to lock it up. We'll give Rice credit though in his post game press conference. He was calm, said that the refs made a mistake, he admitted that he himself made some mistakes and lost self-control, and that was that. 

And finally, we come to Justin Brownlee. Young man, you should be thanking Mr. Burr, Mr. Higgins and Mr. Walton for their horrendous mistakes, which makes your end of game antics moot. First of all, play the game until the final buzzer goes off. Second, when that buzzer does go off, act like you have won a game before. Sure, its fine to get excited and celebrate with your team. But chucking the ball into the 200 level of Madison Square Garden? Not sure if you were aware, but its Wednesday afternoon at the Big East Tournament and not Saturday night. The good thing for Brownlee is that it's not the end of the world. He'll get a chance to step back on the court tomorrow against Syracuse. Guarantee from here on out he plays the rest of the games until he sees three zeros on the clock.

Mistakes happen. It's what we, along with the refs, Rice and Brownlee, learn from these mistakes that is the most important thing. It's unfortunate that there had to be controversy to end what was otherwise a great game. As long as coaches, players and refs at all levels are able to learn from this, then we'll all be better off in the end.

1 comment:

  1. That was a crazy ending to the game! The officials definitely messed up, but one or even two mistakes shouldn’t ban them from working NCAA tournament games. The three of them just voluntarily withdrew from working any more Big East Tournament games this year. I thought Rutgers coach Mike Rice handled the situation with a lot of class. Most coaches at any level of basketball would have gone ballistic if similar circumstances occurred. At least the officials’ errors didn’t occur during the national championship game though. That certainly would have caused a massive uproar from players, coaches, and fans.