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12 February 2008

Media consensus: foul unjust

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/12/2008 05:35:00 PM
Last night's Villanova-Georgetown ending generated many impassioned reactions in the local and national media today.

The consensus in the media, which is giving the incident a lot of play, is that the call was not justified and unnecessarily altered the course of the game.

The Washington Post's "D.C. Sports Bog" does a great job of summarizing the ways the call was categorized in post-game reports. The post notes some alternative viewpoints, but most of the media reactions say that the call was unjust.

King Kaufman, Salon's national sports columnist, devoted his entire column today to the ugly finishes at Georgetown and in the women's Rutgers-Tennessee game. Kaufman, one of the smartest sportswriters in the field, said the foul should never have been called:

The game could have been wrapped in a bow and handed to the Hoyas, but that would have been more work for them than this was. They would have had to untie the bow.

Mike Francesca and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, the kingpins of sports-talk radio in New York, both agreed on their show today that the call was tremendously bad and cost Villanova the game. Russo said that the contact did not constitute a foul no matter what the situation, while Francesca thought that the foul should not have been called because of the game-situation and because Stokes's actions gained Villanova no unfair advantage. Francesa also said that if this ends up costing Villanova an NCAA bid, it would be a shame.

Mike and the Mad Dog brought on Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, who defended the official Bob Donato's call. Tranghese said that since Wallace stepped out of bounds, the only options for Donato were to call a displacement foul on Stokes, giving Wallace two free throws, or to call Wallace out of bounds, giving Villanova the ball. Tranghese said that neither option was appealing to him, but that he stood behind Donato. Russo said that in his opinion, there was no foul on the play, and that even if there was, giving the ball back to Villanova with under half-a-second to play was "the lesser of two evils."

You can listen to the entire Tranghese interview in MP3 format. He discusses the women's game first before his more lengthy segment on the Villanova game.

Art Hyland, the Big East coordinator of officials for men's basketball, told ESPN's Andy Katz that Donato was within his right to make a judgment call and charge Stokes with the foul.

Finally, you can watch the ESPN highlights and post-game breakdown by Jay Bilas in the embedded player below. Bilas repeats some of the points he made on the air during the game.

All in all, the incident has been covered heavily in the sports world today, which may help Villanova's chances with the NCAA selection committee should the Wildcats work their way onto the bubble in March.

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