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A Missed Call

As a rule, we rarely discuss officiating unless it directly affects the
outcome of a game. We made an exception in one game recently because the
referees, to us, almost lost control of the game. After the UNC-Tech
game, it's fair
to criticize the officials.
Billy Packer, no favorite of Duke fans
after some comments he allegedly made to some Duke women in Cameron last
weekend, nonetheless called it right: when Cota knocked the ball in the air, and
Tony Akins recovered it, Cota pretty clearly pushed him. This screwed Tech
in three ways, and you can take your pick as to which was worse:

  1. Akins was injured on the play and had to leave.
  2. Tech could have assigned the foul shooter, since Akins couldn't go
    at that point.
  3. With Akins out, Tech lost a 3 point shooter and their best ballhandler.
    The ball sailed out of bounds, rather than towards, the basket, and thus
    ended a remarkable game.

Look, clearly, UNC was in position to win the game, and it's not that
Cota made a dirty play or the refs wanted UNC to win. It was a mistake.
Nonetheless, it was a key mistake at a critical point in a game which has a big
impact on the race. It's the kind of a play where you want the officials
to make a courageous call. In this case they didn't. It doesn't make them bad
people, but it is a dramatic error and it cost Tech at least a chance to tie the
game on the line.