Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bad night...

I'm not sure what to say here - that was the most stunning game I've seen in awhile.  UNC had it all but wrapped up with about 4 minutes to go in the game... and apparently they thought so too.  Kudos to the dookies for fighting until the end and getting the spoils of their effort.

The Heels shot themselves in the foot with lazy play in the final minutes - throwing passes away, not defending the three, missing free throws, and making dumb decisions on both ends of the floor.  They didn't play like a championship team down the stretch tonight.

All that said, the officiating kept dook in the game in the second half.  Again, I know it sounds like whining when someone blames the refs for a loss, and I certainly won't say they decided the game on their own.  The play on the court did much of that.  But, for some reason, the officials in this rivalry often seem to make it their mission to keep the games as close as possible.  It's almost as if they want to be a part of history, so they make calls to help the trailing team.  I'm not saying that this is some conspiracy - or that they do this intentionally - but I think they subconsciously want to be a "player" in a great UNC-dook game.

Many calls were legit, of course, but there was an alarming number of foul calls that weren't.  For example, Austin Rivers seems to have perfected the move where he dribbles the ball into a defender and then hesitates (with a grimace) to simulate the act of being fouled.  The refs seemed to fall for this every time he did it.  There was also a play where Rivers tripped without the ball, and then Reggie Bullock stood over him in a defensive stance - without touching him - and somehow got a foul called on him.  I'm not sure where the foul was exactly - apparently you aren't allowed to defend a player if he falls down.  It appeared as if the refs thought something looked wrong about Bullock defending a player lying on the ground, so they felt like a foul must have occurred.

Also, dook players continue to act like they've been shot when someone puts a hand in their face while shooting a three.  The refs gave them this call a few times as well.  Don't even get me started on over-the-back fouls and moving screens, which are a staple of dook's play.  There were plenty of those down the stretch as well.

I could go on forever, but the main reason I'm so irritated by the officiating is that it seemed like there was a stretch where the game was about to get out of dook's grasp, and the refs seemed to call a questionable foul on UNC every time dook was on offense.  Maybe a few of those were fouls, but not every one.  Then, on the other end of the floor, there were plays like Harrison Barnes getting tripped by a dook defender driving the lane, and the refs called a charge on Barnes.  He only charged because he was tripped and lost his footing!

Anyway, enough about the officiating.  I'm not happy about it, but it will obviously never change.  Even with all those bad calls, the Heels still should have won this game.   I know the players feel awful and just as sick as us fans do, so I won't berate them too much for the poor play at the end.  I'm just hoping they use this game as motivation to play hard 40(+) minutes a game from here on out.

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