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.
Play 1: Kendall Marshall and Alex Johnson No-Call

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. 

9 comments :

JDerr said...

Yes but, as that is by rule, then the fourth called foul on C.J. Leslie was incorrectly called which you failed to mention. Photographic evidence of this is here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/03/10/1922371/calls-and-no-calls-from-unc-vs.html.
Notice how the defender's foot is not on the floor and therefore he is not in the legal guarding position. Therefore the contact should have been a blocking foul on the defender or a no-call. And I'm sure your extremely tough video analysis involved slow motion which the game is not played in. If the Leslie foul was called a charge then the no-call should have been a charge, period. If you are unbiased explain this one and if not keep drinking the Hessinade.

Gil Imber said...

Judging by the instantaneous image, that could have been an offensive foul. The defender was legal prior to the contact and was sliding obliquely and maintaining his angle (firm-up). Offensive player is not head & shoulders past defender as defender takes contact in the numbers, which appears to be a lowered shoulder. That image suggests an offensive foul.

Anonymous said...

So the officals got it perfect? Please at least admit it was poorly officiated. Completely inconsistent. WATCH the play and it was an obvious blocking foul that was given as a charge on Leslie. Also Zeller's flop that gave Howell his fourth would have been awarded a yellow card in soccer for diving. Zeller does the same back down move on Painter minutes later and it results in Painter on the floor, no call, and a Zeller lay-up.

Gil Imber said...

I'll admit I only have done an in-depth analysis on those final two plays and relied on a still image to rule that a third play might have been an offensive foul. If you have a video link for me, I'll gladly take a look at the others. No game is perfectly officiated.

Anonymous said...

http://espn.go.com/watchespn/player/_/source/espn3/league/NCAAM/gameId/320700153/size/condensed/

best i can do and go 1:28 into the video and it wasnt a zeller flop, shockingly, but it was a flop by barnes i think. Psinter no call was at 139:30 in the video and leslie "offensive" foul occurs on the next play.

Gil Imber said...

Thanks for the link. It's very useful.

Starting with 1:28:45. Too bad ESPN had that "story" on Zeller's fingers, otherwise they might have shown a replay from a better angle down low. In a perfect world, we'd have a second look to confirm it, but barring some hooking or lowered shoulder we can't see from the angle given, that was a no-call that had the potential of turning into a blocking foul had play continued. I agree; this is a flop. Therefore, this is an Incorrect Call (IC).

The 1:39:30 no-call looks good to me. I don't see anything to indicate a foul; it looks like a flop to me and I agree with you that we have an inconsistency between this and the 1:28:45 play. However, the 1:39:30 play judged under its own merits goes under the heading of Correct No Call (CNC).

The Leslie offensive foul call is correct because he lowers his head and shoulders to displace his defender, who had established legal guarding position prior to the event. Had Leslie not lowered head and shoulders and dribbled in an ordinary (not lowering head/shoulders into defender's chest) fashion, he would have earned the blocking foul as the defender clearly needed no help in losing his balance. Nonetheless, this is a Correct Call (CC) because of the actions of the offensive player in lowering his head and shoulders into the chest of his defender.

The 1:41:30 foul in which Leslie fouls out is correct because Leslie, as a secondary defender, never establishes legal position on the floor, moving his left leg and torso while he contacts the UNC player. This is not a typical fifth foul call (when the unofficial mantra is "make it an obvious one"), but is a defensive foul nonetheless that must be called. This is a Correct Call (CC).

Anonymous said...

thanks for your insight. I agree with you on everything but the leslie foul. It appeared that play was strikingly similar to the marshall play (to me it appears marshall lowers his shoulder to displace johnson). So I think if the leslie play is an offensive foul, then the marshall last play is an offensive foul. Painter flopped, I dont believe johnson flopped. They have him listed at 5'10" and he might be all of 5'8" and marshall is what? 6'3". There was definitely contact. I encourage you to watch the post-game with digger phelps and some other guy and they argue the call. Dont know if it is at the end of the link i sent you. And to your point about picking up a fifth foul call, Zeller's fifth was weaker than Leslie's. Point is I felt it was poorly officiated both ways, but State got the brunt of the bad calls which seems to occur more often than not when teams face UNC or Duke.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you on the Leslie charge. You need to have your vision checked.

Anonymous said...

So because Leslie created contact, it's his foul? I thought the defense was responsible for avoiding the offensive player unless the defense is standing completely still.

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