All you had to do was hop on twitter at some point during the end of Syracuse’s won over UNC-Asheville to get a feel for how college hoops fans felt about the controversial ending.
The Bulldogs got robbed, right?
In the press conference after the loss, it was pretty clear that Eddie Biedenbach, the UNCA head coach, felt exactly the same way. And he did everything he could to avoid commenting on it specifically.
How the game compares to other 16-1 close calls
“I’m not going to comment on the officiating of the game. If I was out there, I was asking him if he was going to go to Primanti’s to eat,” Biedenbach said. “What do you think I was talking to him about at that particular time?”
“I think to answer your question best, that big replay machine up on top, you heard the crowd reaction. I liked the crowd tonight. I thought they were great. If you can evaluate the crowd, can you get 18,600 answers for that question? Okay.”
Biedenbach also reportedly gave his players very specific instructions not to comment on the calls at the end of the game, but it is easy to read between the lines and see how they truly feel.
“In college basketball, sometimes you have to play everybody in the building, you know. We fought and we fought,” senior guard JP Primm said. “No one thought we was going to be in this game. We had the game. Like I said, sometimes you get the short end of the stick.”
“Ref needs to call it, that’s it,” Jeremy Atkinson added.
To be completely frank, the fact that UNCA gave such subdued and respectful answers shows a lot about the kids in that locker room. You could see the devastation on their faces at the end of the game. Many of them were in tears before the final buzzer even sounded. It is heartbreaking to lose such a hard fought game in such a controversial manner.
Biedenbach said it all when he was asked whether or not NCAA tournament officiating crews should be kept together.
“I think they should always keep the good ones together.”
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.