LSU scored a huge SEC win in Lexington last night against Kentucky. The Tigers’ Kavell Bigby-Williams tipped in the game-clinching bucket as time expired. From every available angle, it sure looks like it was basket interference, and a rather obvious one.
The officiating crew did review the play, but were bound by rules to only check if the shot had been released before the buzzer. Thus, the home crowd and Big Blue Nation were the recipients of some bad news.
Kentucky coach John Calipari asked a non-rhetorical question during his postgame availability which deserves some examination.
“Do you remember when we lost in the Final Four?” Calipari asked in his news conference when asked about the final shot. “There was a shot-clock violation. They said it was not reviewable. And then they changed the rule to say why would you want to lose the game on a shot-clock violation and it’s easy to go check?
“Well this one’s easy to go check, too. Just go check it. Why would that not be reviewable?”
This is an excellent point, and I’m saying that as someone who believes replay has had a net negative impact on sports. As someone who found the overreaction to the NFC Championship debacle as overboard.
Why? Because this is a very specific and limited use. College officials already check out-of-bounds calls, timing issues, and block-charge calls in regards to the circle (see: Duke-Louisville) under two minutes. Why not throw in basket interference/goaltending into that purview?
Sure, it would have taken a few extra minutes to determine this, and there would have been a debate if Kentucky goal-tended when a leaping player’s hand came up through the net. But a few extra minutes aren’t any issue in the tidiest of all American sports. College games are 2 hours, or 2 hours, 15 minutes barring overtime. They are efficient and could, conceivably be stretched out minimally to ensure a result like this doesn’t happen.
Also, these types of calls rarely occur and there’s no reason to expect an influx if the rule was changed. This seems like a such an easy fix that not addressing it would almost be negligent.