Saturday, March 10, 2012
NC State vs. UNC: End of Game Sequence Correctly Officiated
The end of game NC State vs. UNC sequence was correctly officiated. The following video breakdown shows why (click here for video). The following plays have been reviewed:
Play 1: Kendall Marshall and Alex Johnson No-Call: Disposition: CNC (Correct No-Call)
Play 2: Richard Howell Buzzer-Beater No-Call: Disposition: CNC (Correct No-Call)
Continue past the jump to see why.
NCAA Rule 4-35 defines legal guarding position as "the act of legally placing the body in the path of an offensive opponent." To establish initial legal guarding position, the player must have booth feet touching the playing court and face his torso towards his opponent.
To maintain legal guarding position after legally establishing it, the guard may shift to maintain his position so long as the guard does not cause contact and may move laterally or obliquely to maintain position provided that such a move is not toward his opponent when contact occurs.
If a defender has established and is maintaining legal guarding position, it is an offensive foul under Rule 10-10 when the dribbler causes contact and displaces the defender.
Replays conclusively indicate defender Johnson did not have legal position at the time of contact with dribbler Marshall, though he initially did establish legal position.
As ESPN analyst Digger Phelps declared postgame, Johnson "cut him off": Johnson failed to maintain legal guarding position because his last-second modification to his oblique angle changed his position so that he is considered to have been moving into his opponent (Marshall) when contact occurred.
Because Johnson did not appear to be legal when contact occurred, it may be said that he "flopped," or faked getting fouled when it was he who could have been called for a blocking foul.
The options for officials in this situation are two-fold: Call a block or no-call the play. Under no circumstance was this an offensive foul.
The officials were correct in no-calling the play, as the contact proved incidental for Marshall, whose speed, rhythm, balance and quickness were not affected as he was able to score the field goal.
Play 2: Richard Howell Buzzer-Beater No-Call
While Howell and Gottfried campaigned for a last-second foul call that never came, replays conclusively demonstrate that Howell never gained possession of the throw in and was never fouled. It was a desperation attempt that fell flat when the inbounds pass was broken up.
At this point, it is a loose ball and cannot be a possession attempt (a throw). Though Rule 4-73 specifies the act of shooting or try for goal as, "an attempt by a player to score two or three points by throwing or tapping the ball into his or her basket," great judgment must be given in regards to a tap.
Rule 4-67 defines a tap as a try in which, "a player attempts to score two or three points by directing a live ball into his or her team's basket with his or her hands or fingers."
Some say the block-charge call is the most difficult call to make in professional sports.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
A tap begins when the player's hands or fingers first touch the ball and ends when the tap is either successful, unsuccessful (blocked) or becomes dead.
When Howell attempted to field the deflection, he was not attempting a tap: he attempted to catch and possess the basketball in what is often known as a "catch-and-shoot" or "catch-and-release."
Not only did Howell never catch the ball, he was not fouled, period. Contact that may have occurred between the two teams was incidental as Howell was not in a position to corral the loose ball.
In the end, the officials got these two key plays right, though it takes an extremely thorough analysis of video, officiating axioms and the NCAA rules book to see exactly why.