Tender Touches Seal Deal As High-Fivin' White Guys Zap Zona
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Rule 1 for any athlete in any sport is Do not put the game in an official's hands.
Admittedly, that's a tough task in college hoops this season, what with the NCAA's overseers declaring the game should be a hybrid form of tag.
Wisconsin's Badgers edged the Arizona Wildcats, 64-63, in overtime at the Elite Eight's Western final in Anaheim last night because Frank Kaminsky continued his rapid rise to elite status with a versatile performance for which the Cats had no answer.
Actually, the 7-0, 235lb junior not only was the answer, he had the answer. During the Badgers' shootaround for the media's benefit, he fielded one of the dumber questions with a sardonic zinger:
Q: Describe Wisconsin in one or two words.
A: White guys.
When his playing days are over, The Onion has a job waiting for him.
But for all Kaminsky's humor and heroics, Sean Miller's defensive schemes kept Arizona competitive to the point that the Wildcats led for much of the game. Miller and the team did an amazing job compensating for the loss of forward Brandon Ashley to injury in early February, and his absence was keenly felt in a game like this. Others took up the slack admirably, and when the rubber met the road, junior and Pac-12 Player of the Year Nick Johnson took the reins.
Unfortunately, he forgot about Rule 1.
Was his left forearm enough of a 'bar' to warrant a charging call? Should Josh Gasser be up for an Oscar?
Both questions should be moot. The real query was why did Johnson give the refs even a slight chance to make a call?
This wasn't anywhere near Jarnell Stokes' alleged drive for a first down, which cost Tennessee a shot at a miracle finish against Michigan:
And while the Volunteers' Jordan MacRae empathized with Johnson and the Wildcats ...
... The Wolverines' Jordan Morgan appreciated Gasser's theatrics in crunch time:
The real injustice here is that the players weren't truly allowed to play the game. And it's ultimately their fault. They knew the new rules. The refs in question had discretion, and they went green looey with it.