North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Gonzaga’s Mark Few consult with an official.
North Carolina beat Gonzaga for college basketball’s national title by eking out a tense 71-65 win on Monday night, but all anyone could talk about during the game’s second half was the refereeing.
Simply put: The game officials went whistle-mad in the second half, stealing the show from the players and coaches as the game ground to a mind-numbing pace.
Then, when a call actually should have been made they swallowed their whistles.
Good times. Let’s take a look.
We’ll get to the call that wasn’t in a second. But first, here’s a taste of a Twitter zeitgeist during the second half when the game’s officiating crew seemed hell-bent on reminding everyone of their existence.
After the "Touching me, touching you" line in "Sweet Caroline," the officials walked over and called a foul on the Carolina band
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) April 4, 2017
Man I can’t watch this anymore man! I would like to see the kids decide who wins the game! I mean Bruh!! Smh
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 4, 2017
By now you get the point and then some: The refs were making too many calls.
Which makes a huge missed call with less than a minute to play that much more egregious.
Here’s what happened.
North Carolina’s Joel Berry II missed a jumper with about 55 seconds to play and the Tar Heels were up by a point. There was a scramble under the hoop for the rebound. North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks was involved, as were Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski and Silas Melson.
A jump ball was called, and the possession arrow gave it to North Carolina with 49 seconds to play.
IT SURE AS HELL LOOKS LIKE MEEKS’ HAND IS OUT OF BOUNDS WHILE HE’S TOUCHING THE BALL.
And a ref WAS STANDING RIGHT THERE!!
By rule, that should have given Gonzaga the ball down a point with 49 seconds to play.
Instead, North Carolina got the ball (remember, due to the jump-ball call and the possession arrow being in their favor) up a point with 49 seconds to play. Isaiah Hicks then hit a tough shot in the lane to put the Tar Heels up 68-65. Gonzaga would not score again.
That’s a huge no-call at the worst possible time — and one made doubly awful by the run of whistle-mad officiating that proceeded it.
Sure, this alone didn’t cost Gonzaga the national title. But on a night when the officiating drew tons of attention for all the wrong reasons, it’s a bad stain on what should have been a much more entertaining game.