Syracuse: Deserving of its 25-2 Record
Last week at this time, this author wrote that Syracuse was a flawed team that is and deserves to be 25-0. Part of the logic was that a team that captures victory from defeat is deserving of that–even if arguable luck and good calls play a role. Syracuse haters cannot focus on one or two plays. One week later, the only reasonable conclusion is that Syracuse deserves to be 25-2. Again, this author is a diehard Syracuse fan that has been following basketball since, well, forever. Rest assured, it was before the Carrier Dome was even conceived. Much like Syracuse haters could not focus on one or two plays as demonstrative of luck or referees dictating the outcome, Syracuse fans cannot do the same here. It is what it is. The team is a fair and deserving 25-2.
The complaining about the referees is tiresome. If you are like this author, you follow a lot of Syracuse and Duke fans. It was a tedious effort of watching fans tweet/cry about every call… no matter who benefited, the other side was there to complain. Syracuse got a foul call that it probably did not deserve on the Gbinje breakaway. Duke fans’ tears stain the Internet. An incorrect blocking foul called on Gbinje, wailing and gnashing of teeth in Syracuse. And so on. JUST STOP! For all the foul trouble that Syracuse had, here is Jim Boeheim’s statement: “But it was a great game, tremendously well officiated game, I just disagree with that last call.”
As for that final call… watch this video. Slowed it down a bunch of times. Just not crystal clear what the call is or should be. Does that make it a no call? Maybe, maybe not. Read this ESPN report: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/10506018/referees-made-right-call-end-syracuse-orange-duke-blue-devils-game-official-says
Block-charge calls have been the most difficult calls in basketball for decades. They happen at full speed. We parse them on instant replay. That is NOT legitimate criticism of a referee’s call. It is far too close a call on nearly every play.
Did Syracuse come out on the wrong end of both calls? Yes. In a vacuum, does that mean that one of them is wrong? Sure. So that is one bad call. Means that the other one is correct, right? And the one incorrect one against Syracuse is offset by the foul call on Duke earlier in the game on Ginbje’s breakaway. All things are even.
Regardless, every team in every game should go into it assuming that the human beings calling the game are going to make a few incorrect calls. Until the refbots are invented. Assume it is a -3, especially on the road. Play the game like you know that you will have to overcome it. Play smarter… take good shots. Dunk the ball instead of casually throwing up bunnies. Make your free throws. Pass the ball to a more open man. Move without the ball (Cooney!). Do not go for the ball fakes.
In March, that is the recipe for advancing or not advancing. Control what you can control: defensive intensity, rebounding intensity, shot selection, moving without the ball, passing/care for the ball, and free throws. If you want to leave the game in the hands of the refs by playing down to your opponent, you will win some and lose some. But the result will be deserved. Whether it is 25-0 or 25-2, the scoreboard controls.