Sean Miller

Refs blew call that cost Colorado win at Arizona, but not how you think


For the second time this week, the refs blew a call that could have cost a road team a basket in crunch time.

On Tuesday night, the crew working UConn’s visit to Marquette allowed the teams to start overtime going in the wrong direction. When a Shabazz Napier layup was goaltended by Jamil Wilson, they said that the call was an inadvertent whistle — you can’t goaltend on your own basket — when the NCAA rulebook clearly states that the basket should have counted.

The missed call in No. 3 Arizona’s 92-83 win over Colorado in overtime was much, much more important, however; a three-pointer that Sabatino Chen hit at the end of regulation with the score tied at 80 should have counted.

But it’s not for the reason you think.

First things first: here is the rule pertaining to a situation like this. It’s Rule 5, Section 7, Article 2a:

In games with a 10th-of-a-second game clock display and where an official courtside monitor is used, the reading of zeros on the game clock is to be used to determine whether a try for goal occurred before or after the expiration of time in any period. When the game clock is not visible, the officials shall verify the original call with the use of the red/LED light(s). When the red/LED light(s) are not visible, the sounding of the game-clock horn shall be utilized. When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands.

Watch the video. Look at the two pictures embedded here. What do you think? Does Chen get the ball off before the clock above the back board (and not the one in the bottom-right hand corner) goes to triple-zeroes?

Take away any rooting bias you may have here. There’s no way to irrefutably determine whether or not that ball is not on his fingertips when the clock hits triple-zeroes. The image is just too blurry.

Let’s go to the last sentence of that rule, then: “When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands.”

If you look at the bottom of the screen, there is one official that signals a made three. Here’s the screen-grab evidence, via our own Terrence Payne (here’s a look at a full-screen shot of the ref signalling the made three):


So a ref called the three good initially. The video review was inconclusive. They should have gone back to the original ruling. The basket should have been good and Colorado should have won the game. (For what it’s worth, Director of Officiating John Adams told Mike DeCourcy the refs got the call right. I’ll respectfully disagree.)

The worst part?

This wasn’t the only call blown by the officials in the final minutes of the game. Solomon Hill hit a huge three in Arizona’s comeback when he was put into the game on an illegal substitution. The refs missed a blatantly obvious intentional foul by Andre Roberson that cost Arizona’s Nick Johnson a layup. They called an atrocious foul on Mark Lyons when Spencer Dinwiddie fell over.

This was not the finest moment for the guys in stripes.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.