UConn coach Kevin Ollie nearly lost his mind charging down the sideline toward the baseline Saturday night to protest a non-call by officials.
The outburst of frustration immediately led officials to toss Ollie from the game against former Big East Conference rival Louisville in what was likely the most controversial officiating decision of a busy day in college basketball.
Ollie felt UConn senior Niels Giffey was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer by Louisville swingman Wayne Blackshear, but officials made no call leading to a turnover when Niels shot a wild air ball that went nowhere near the basket.
The replay shows Giffey actually dribbles once and moved into the path of Blackshear after he had already jumped, which might be why the officials chose to blow the whistle.
Louisville went on to win 76-64, but UConn fans probably can't help but wonder if the game might have turned out differently had the situation been officiated differently and handled differently by Ollie.
Louisville made just two of the ensuing four free throws, but UConn was sapped of its momentum. (Get a look at the play and Ollie's reaction to two Loops below).
Ollie had a legitimate gripe in this sense. Dozens of similar plays happen each week around the nation and the vast majority of them draw a whistle and free throws. But Ollie might not have been so worked up if his team hadn't started the second half in such a funk.
At the time of the incident about 7 minutes into the second half, the Huskies had made just one field goal in the half. The 3-pointer from Shabazz Napier came shortly after halftime and tied the game 34-34. It turned out to be the only field goal by UConn in the first 9 minutes of the second half.
The Cardinals reacted as you would expect a defending national champion to react and methodically reestablished a lead. No wonder Ollie was so upset when what seemed like an obvious call didn't go his way.
Associate head coach Glen Miller took over after Ollie was escorted off the floor. The Huskies managed to cut the lead to seven several times in the final 3 minutes, but never managed to get all the way back.
Ollie offered this explanation to reporters after the game.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie: "In that situation, I lost my composure ... I just thought it was a foul."
— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) January 19, 2014
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