Let me start by saying this column isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to what happened to my beloved Fighting Illini during their East region third round game against Miami (Fla) Sunday, Mar. 24 (though it may come across that way).
Anyone who watched the game knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Ok. Here goes.
With a mere 40 seconds left on the second half clock, and Illinois trailing by two-points, the basketball ricocheted off a Miami player and out-of-bounds under the Illinois basket.
Instead of the Illini getting the ball back for a potential game-tying, or maybe even game-winning attempt, the referees gave the ball to the Hurricanes. The call pretty much ended any hopes the Illini had at extending the game, as Illinois was forced to foul and the Hurricanes iced the contest from the free throw line.
Even the broadcasters doing the game on television couldn’t contain themselves, as the ball clearly went off the Miami player’s hand.
I don’t blame the officials for blowing the call. They can’t possibly get every single call right during 40 intense minutes of action, but when a play so key to the outcome of a contest can’t be reviewed? That I do have a problem with!
When officials are allowed to go to the monitor to review dozens of other events that happen during a game, why couldn’t the NCAA adopt a rule that makes sure refs get a key call right inside the game’s last minute or two?
I know. That just makes too much sense for the NCAA. But to see the careers of college kids who have spent their whole lives building to that point end due to such a key call being outright wrong, is painful to watch. Illinois-related or not.
No system is perfect and mistakes will always happen, but when you can get the call right, the NCAA needs to make it right!