Now that the ACC has ruled on the clock issue, what now? Well, not too much in most respects. If you go back and look at the end of the game, a few things become obvious:
- Greg Paulus played extremely passive defense on Vernon Hamilton's layup. Obviously he didn't want to foul, but he could have stayed more in front of him.
- Josh McRoberts was responsible for the blown pass. Actually, it's almost always going to be the passer's fault.
- The clock error is not in dispute. But at most it would have put the game into overtime. And we've seen Duke run a play more than once which sees the team get the ball to halfcourt, call a quick timeout, and get a shot off. So who knows?
But more importantly, Clemson went for the ball instead of trying to keep the shooters on the perimeter. Once James Mays committed to doubling Jon Scheyer, his team mates had to scramble to get close to Dave McClure.
There is one part of this which is really unfortunate and that is that the officials are getting reamed. We've met a few officials over the years, and we can tell you that being an official means you have a few particular character traits, including: stubbornness, independence, and extreme self-confidence.
It's not the first time officials have made a mistake, but with Gary Williams and then Billy Packer fueling the notion that Duke gets some kind of extra perks when it comes to officiating, it's important to debunk this stuff. A similar situation happened in the Virginia Tech-Maryland game which probably had much more serious consequences for Maryland, but no one talks about that one.
So let's take a quick look at what we can quickly look at when it comes to officiating this season, namely, the number of calls. We'll ignore the weaker teams on the schedule and focus on the serious games. Duke's total fouls are listed first.
- Duke vs. Air Force 15/19
- Duke vs. Marquette 19/18
- Duke vs. Indiana 17/23
- Duke vs. Georgetown 18/19
- Duke vs. George Mason 15/18
- Duke vs. Kent State 16/25
- Duke vs. Gonzaga 14/21
- Duke vs. Temple 13/13
- Duke vs. Virginia Tech 16/21
- Duke vs. Georgia Tech 19/17
- Duke vs. Miami 20/23
- Duke vs. Wake Forest 17/17
- Duke vs. N.C. State 23/15
- Duke vs. Clemson 10/15
There's no radical disparity of fouls in these games. But you can't make everyone happy: some Clemson fans are crying, well, foul, because Duke had three starters who didn't get called for any fouls in the Clemson game.
Pretty clearly, the conspiracy theorists are not going to go away, but we've come to think that's a good thing: the more they think Duke can't be beat, the better it is for Duke. So line up for that Kool-Aid!