January 03, 2010
There's usually little excuse for failing to shoot a potential game-winner and ending the game (or regulation) with the ball in your hand. In most college arenas, there are clocks everywhere and it's a player's responsibility to know how much time is left on said clocks. The ball likely won't go in if a player throws up a desperation heave, but it definitely won't go in if it's still in his hands.
Jeremy Hazell gets a pass though. It's true that in the final seconds of regulation in a Saturday game against Virginia Tech the Seton Hall star failed to get off a shot. And it's also true that he didn't know how much time was left in the game. But in his defense, he couldn't know because there was no game clock visible to him.
Watch the final few seconds of the game (eventually won by the Hokies in overtime):
This was played in Cancun, Mexico at El Poliforum Beinto Juarez. As the ESPN announcers later would say, the only game clock in the building is on the scoreboard above the court, and that only counted down time in full seconds. Playing in an unfamiliar environment and having to frantically look the time (like Hazell is doing right before time expires) helped lead to the miss. (There were shot clocks above the basket, but they were turned off once the game clock went under 35 seconds).
I'm all for pre-season (and mid-season) tournaments, even if events like the one in Mexico are strictly made-for-TV affairs. But there has to be some sort of oversight in how these arenas are set-up. Would the NCAA stand for an 84-foot court? Or baskets that were six inches too short? So why not with where the clocks are placed?
Elementary school gyms have scoreboards within view of the court. Church basketball leagues have clocks that count down the final minute in tenths of a second. All NCAA basketball games should have these things too.