With just under five minutes to play in a round of 32 contest, top-seeded Gonzaga was leading eighth-seeded Northwestern 63-58. The Wildcats were charging back hard after being down double digits for most of the game when Northwestern coach Chris Collins was assessed a technical foul for losing his mind and running on the court.
Gonzaga would hit the two free throws to extend the lead to seven points. It was a deflating moment for the Wildcats, who were moving into a position to pull the upset.
But did Collins have good reason to be mad?
He sure did.
One of basketball’s rules is you can’t stick your hand through the hoop and knock the ball away. It’s a simple rule that makes a lot of sense, otherwise nobody would ever score. You could just stick a tall guy under the rim and have him knock away every shot. Every game would be a 2-0 final.
Somehow, the officials all missed this call while Collins did not. Instead of Northwestern getting within 63-60, Gonzaga pulled ahead 65-58 after the technical free throws were sank.
In a sport that reviews every single out of bounds call in the final two minutes – dragging the game on forever – it seems silly that a defensive goaltending call can’t be reviewed. This may have cost Northwestern a trip to the Sweet 16, as Gonzaga held on for a 79-73 win and avoided being the second No. 1 seed to go down in the round of 32.
UPDATE: The NCAA admitted they blew it: