By now you’ve probably seen the blown call that went against Wisconsin with just under two minutes left in Monday night’s national championship.
If you missed it, Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig drove into the lane and attempted a layup in traffic and missed badly. The ball went up in the air and players from both sides fought for the ball, which deflected off a hand and out of bounds. The officials initially ruled that the ball hit off of Koenig, giving the ball back to Duke.
However, a closer, zoomed-in replay showed that the ball clearly glanced off the finger of Duke’s Justise Winslow.
Even after a review of nearly two minutes, possession was awarded to Duke in a head-scratching decision.
To explain how the blown call transpired, NCAA head of officiating John Adams appeared on Sirius XM radio and made a pretty surprising admission that they never saw the definitive replay that viewers saw at home.
“All four of our officials were involved in the review. We never saw, on our monitor, what everybody saw at home, if you can believe that,” Adams said.
However, after the officials left the monitor and made their ruling, Adams said he saw the zoomed-in view of the ball clearly touching Winslow’s finger.
At that point he had the opportunity to quickly make a decision.
“I saw it after they had left the monitor, and actually thought about, is it in my prerogative to get up, run over to the table, buzz the buzzer, and tell them to come back and look?” Adams said. “That’s how critical I thought the play was and concluded that this is a job for the guys on the floor. I’ve never done it before. Why would I do it tonight and perhaps change the balance of the game?”
It’s pretty surprising that Adams wouldn’t blatantly admit that a mistake had been made and even more surprising that he’d admit that he had the opportunity to correct the mistake. To do so, it seems like he would have had to forgo protocol that had been followed with the replay system for the entire season.
Beyond that, Adams seemed to cast a bit of blame toward the review system itself and said that the incident will be looked at moving forward.
“They’d already left. It will be one of the things we will follow up on,” Adams said. “We’ve been told time and time again that nobody at home will see anything you didn’t see. And I will tell you that’s not what happened last night. That’s not an excuse; that’s just laying it out for you.”
While it’s nice that Adams was so transparent in explaining how it all went down, none of it will make Wisconsin fans feel any better.
After the possession was ultimately given to Duke, freshman guard Tyus Jones – the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player – drilled a three-pointer to increase the Blue Devils’ lead from five to eight.
The Badgers were able to cut the Duke lead down to three, but could not quite get over the hump and Duke prevailed, 68-63, to take home the fifth national title in program history.
- - - - - - -