Tuesday, April 4, 2017

NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Recap 2017

For most people, a championship game of any sport is great when it moves with a great flow. It has plays that become unforgettable, and feels clean for the most part. An effort is put up on both sides and there is confidence to be in the clutch and make those plays count. I did not see any of that with last night's NCAA Championship game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the North Carolina Tar Heels. That game has got to be one of the worst games I have ever seen of any sport. For me, this rivals the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos Super Bowl game and a Monday Night Football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens in 2011, though those two games were for different reasons.

I'll try to keep it short, but that first half was okay. There was some mediocre shooting, but there was a flow to it. North Carolina should have been up and had more than 32 points at halftime. So many in and outs, one would wonder if they could get a shot off that would swish into the basket at certain points of the game. The refs called it a little tight, but they let that first half go and allowed both teams to play through without responding to a bunch of ticky tacky fouls. You would think with the second half there would be a little more effort, but that never happened.

When one team was cold, the other was hot and vice versa for those first five minutes of the second half. Gonzaga played very poorly. They couldn't make a shot to save their life, yet they were still in it until the final minute. North Carolina was extremely poor in three point shooting the entire game, and it showed with only a few actually going in late in the half. What killed this game, however, was the referees. It got so tight that by the time there was 10 minutes left in the game, there was nearly 20 fouls. Some fouls had to be called, but there was quite a bit of ticky tacky calls that it ruined the flow. Even the CBS announcers noticed the frustration of fans and mentioned the foul calling a few times. An NBA game has a better flow than this, even when there are a lot of fouls with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

I went to a JV basketball game at my high school around either 2009 or 2010. By the time that game was finished, there had been nearly or at 50 fouls committed by both sides. Roughly 45-50 fouls were called for this championship game. About 30 were in that second half alone. The refs are going to be roasted and rightfully so. When you have NBA veterans criticizing them for the numerous calls, you know you screwed up. I can't think of any time in any sport where refs or umpires dictated a game by being so tight that anything can be called.

The NFL has endured a lot of criticism about refs and their poor calls. It can be said as well for the NBA depending on certain situations. For MLB, it depends on the umpire and if they have notoriety like Joe West. This NCAA Championship game outrivals a lot of the poor calls in those three sports and a lot of other sports. I'll end by saying that while these referees are human, they should not be the X factor to a game. Changes have to be made to ensure things like this last night (or tonight, depending on the time region), don't happen again. These referees are going to catch a lot of hell from now until November when the next season approaches.

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