Fans watching the thrilling Kansas-Ohio State Final Four game missed the final 2.8 seconds of the game because CBS Sports cameras were showing a replay instead of the game-ending inbound play that sealed Kansas' victory.
Ohio State's Aaron Craft had just been called for a lane violation after intentionally missing a free throw with 2.8 seconds remaining in the game. While CBS was showing the replay of Craft's overenthusiastic charge toward the basket, Kansas was inbounding the ball to run off the final seconds of the game. Kansas was clinging to a two-point lead and Ohio State was out of timeouts, so the game would end if the Jayhawks could run out the clock.
That's exactly what happened, but viewers watching live on CBS didn't see it:
CBS was busy showing the Craft replay and failed to realize that there wouldn't be any lag between the violation and inbound. As such, viewers missed almost two seconds of game play and when cameras finally caught up with the game, 1.7 seconds later, there was little more than one second left and the game was essentially over. It was completely confusing for all fans.
They weren't the only ones baffled. Ohio State players didn't understand that the inbounds would come so quickly after Craft's miss. Indeed, they look as surprised when the ball was put in play as the CBS cameras. Miscommunication in the truck and a lack of anticipation of a quick inbound are what did in CBS and forced fans to miss out on the anticlimactic end of one of the best Final Four games in recent memory.
Not that the replay being shown instead of the live play wasn't important. Craft's lane violation was a crucial error that sealed the game for Kansas.
"I knew we needed to miss it," Craft told reporters after the game. "I figured that would be the easiest way for us to get the ball back instead of just trying to miss it a different way. I stepped over the line early, apparently. But that's not what lost us the game. He made the call, it was probably the right one, and I should have had more patience on the line."
It was the right call and an unfortunate example of a player knowing the rule, trying to exploit it but not executing it well enough to succeed. Applaud Craft's effort and moxie. His bold move was Ohio State's best shot of winning.
As for CBS, they get no such praise in failure. The network fell victim to the increasing Scorsese-ization of televised sports. Instead of showing a game with normal camera angles, directors are increasingly trying to use their dozens of different perspectives to show the game in a different way. This is why we get disorienting sky-cam shots during the game and obscured views of baseline cams while free throws are being shot. It's why networks cut to cheering fans after a made basket instead of showing the opponent start the break.
Replays are great but not at the expense of the game. Too often, directors try to tell a story through replays and different camera angles when the best move would be to show the game the way it's always been shown: The elevated mid-court camera that's been in use for 50 years. It's the best angle. Use it and don't cut from it.When you do, directors choose to try to tell a story of the game rather than showing the game itself. And that's how you end up with debacles like CBS had on Saturday night.
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