“It’s a shame it had to be played that way.” — Bo Ryan
The 2014-15 college basketball season will be remembered for Kentucky’s undefeated run to the Final Four. It will be remembered for Duke’s 1,000th win and fifth national championship under Coach K. Above all, it will be remembered as one of the most horrid officiated seasons in sports history, culminating in a title game with equally horrible calls.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan didn’t hold back in his post game comments, seeming to at least partially blame the refs for his team’s 68-63 loss.
This foul call in particular nearly caused a Bo Ryan meltdown.
Ryan’s got a legit gripe here. Bronson Koenig was vertical trailing the play, and Tyus Jones initiated contact jumping into him. If anything, the refs should have just swallowed the whistles here and let them play on. But they didn’t, and it was a huge turning point in the game.
Compare this to a Wisconsin blocking foul minutes minutes earlier.
Koenig took to Twitter, needling refs for the call.
But that was nothing compared to these two out of bounds screw-ups late in the game.
The first came with 3:14 left and Wisconsin trailing 61-58. Justise Winslow went baseline on a defender, stepped on the line a few feet away from the ref before dishing to Jahlil Okafor for an “and-1” opportunity. It was a huge momentum-shifting play. One that stretched the lead to five points.
A zoomed-in look.
Coincidentally, Wisconsin benefited from a similar call weeks ago in the Big Ten Tournament final against Michigan State.
You can maybe understand the ref missing this one. It happened quickly. He was possibly concerned with contact from the defender. So, let’s chalk this one up to a badly missed call.
With under two minutes remaining, this out of bounds call was reviewed.
Several replays ultimately showed the ball going off the tip of Winslow’s finger. But it wasn’t enough to convince officials.
The Blue Devils played a marvelous game down the stretch, got some clutch shooting from Tyus Jones and 16 points from bench contributor Grayson Allen. They were a better team in the end.
That being said, these calls will be scrutinized for a long, long time, and Badger fans will wonder, “What if?”
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