Thank goodness Ohio State won that game Thursday night.
I say that without a dog in the fight. I picked New Mexico to win that game. From a rooting interest standpoint, I root against both schools, so I would be miserable no matter who won.
I was glad Ohio State won because replay has officially gone too far.
LaQuinton Ross made a 22-foot jumper to give Ohio State a three-point lead. With Arizona having no timeouts, the officials stopped the game to replay the last shot. I stress 22 feet because the three-point line is set at 20′ 9″. If the officials were checking to see if there was a foot on the line, we know they should be fired on the spot.
The officials wanted to check the clock to ensure it had stopped on the made basket. After evaluating, the clock was reset from 2.0 to 2.1. This is absurd. If Arizona had a timeout left and used it to set up a play, I’m all for a review. So what if UofA gets 90 seconds after stopping the play with a 30 second timeout? It’s entirely different for Arizona to be given a gift timeout.
Arizona already chose to use their last timeout to ensure a possession on a near jump ball. They gave up the right to set up a last play. The officials can’t give them both. Replay should be used to fix egregious errors, not as a crutch.
This isn’t the officials’ fault though, it’s the NCAA’s. The rule must be changed. If a team is out of timeouts, replay should only be used when there is clear confusion. If a referee notices the clock continue to run or a quick jab-step three, I understand going to the replay. In that rare instance, make the players go to a neutral corner.
The NCAA will do nothing, however, because they are a reactionary institution with little foresight. Since Arizona didn’t tie the game, the NCAA will see it as irrelevant. When a team benefits from this in a future game, the NCAA will act shocked as if there was no way to have seen the situation coming.