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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Head of NCAA officials admits error in late call against Syracuse

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

Like it or not, the referees have created as big of a buzz so far in this year's NCAA tournament as the likes of Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker and Cinderellas such as VCU.

In turn, NCAA supervisor of officials John Adams has received plenty of ink and press while having to address several of the questionable calls late in games.

The latest is the backcourt violation called against Syracuse's Scoop Jardine in the final minute of the Orange's season-ending loss to Marquette in Cleveland on Sunday evening.

"It appears from the video that we have seen that an error was made in applying the backcourt violation rule," Adams said on Wednesday.

With 51 seconds left and the game tied, 59-59, Jardine caught an inbound pass near mid-court, but was left with a baffled look when he was credited with a turnover for having allegedly crossed back over the timeline.

After that, Darius Johnson-Odom buried a clutch three for Marquette, and a handful of free throws later, the Golden Eagles propelled themselves into the Sweet 16 with a 66-62 win.

It made perfect sense that one of the weekend's final games ended in controversy. {YSP:MORE}

A few other examples that highlighted the start to the 2011 tourney included …

• The Pitt-Butler game on Saturday including two foul calls made from at least 50-feet away from the basket in the closing seconds. Both, in hindsight, were legitimate calls, but still drummed up loads of attention and argument. Butler went on to win the game, 71-70, making the Panthers the only No. 1 seed to not survive into the Sweet 16.

"I don't think the Pitt-Butler game was over five minutes before my cell started going off with everybody wanting to know what we thought of the end of the game," Adams said. "I probably got texts and emails from 10 or 20 media sources within five or 10 minutes."

Texas' Cory Joseph was called for a questionable five-second violation while inbounding the ball underneath his own basket in the final minute of the Longhorns' agonizing 70-69 loss to Arizona on Sunday in Tulsa. Replays matched up with a stopwatch clearly indicated that the freshman guard turned to the ref to call timeout inside of five seconds, but instead, the call led to a 3-point play from Arizona's Derrick Williams that essentially won the game. Topping it all off were two iffy non-calls on attempts at game-winning shots in the final seconds by Texas's J'Covan Brown and Gary Johnson.

• Though it might not have made a huge difference, replays confirmed that at the end of North Carolina's 86-83 victory over Washington on Sunday afternoon, the Huskies should have been awarded more time to get their final shot off. Instead, UW coach Lorenzo Romar's request for a thorough review on the replay monitors was apparently met by the officials saying they'd already checked.

Plain and simple, it's been a bad month for officials, even before the NCAA tournament. Are they actually doing a porous job, or is America just now beginning to pay closer attention to the officiating than we are the games themselves? With better replay technology and more camera angles, human error on the part of the refs is magnified more than ever.

Either way, no one might be pulling for a 50-point explosion from Jimmer more than Adams, who, even if just for a little while, certainly wouldn't mind some of the national attention being diverted elsewhere.

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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