Tuesday, March 27, 2007

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO GILBERT’S GRAPES?

(OOPS! News Flash: We just discovered that CBS was wrong. They said Hibbert was in the game at the end of the first half with three fouls, when he only had two. They had assigned somebody else's foul to Hibbert. Doesn't make the whole debate moot, but certainly changes it a little. A fourth foul is a much bigger deal...)

Yesterday, we were accused by some of sour grapes and whining because we pointed out that Roy Hibbert committed an obvious foul at the end of the first half that wasn’t called. Here’s what we said “Finally, little things can change a close game…” We described the play in question and said “...at some point the official decided to let them play and Hibbert enjoyed a Sheldon Williamsesque 20 foul afternoon.”

Of course the Sheldon reference was the obligatory swipe at Duke, but even Billy Packer said during the game that the refs weren’t calling fouls in the second half like they did in the first. That was the other point, it was inconsistent. Nothing more than an observation of what occurred verified by a guy (like him or not) who has been the game analyst on every Final Four game for the past 30 years.

What we didn’t say -- We didn’t say the call in question caused Georgetown to win or Carolina to lose. We said it was an obvious foul. Simple as that. It’s called Today’s ACC Headlines. We write about what happened. We analyzed the game and pointed out things that happened that we perceived to be important. We did not say Georgetown played better for the final 15 minutes for one simple reason: You already knew that. We didn’t say UNC puked all over their shoes for the same reason. We pointed out a play that most of you probably didn’t even notice. That was the point. Here is an impact play that was overlooked by CBS and lots of folks watching the game.

If we had said something obvious like “If Wayne Ellington sinks the last shot, UNC wins” – would that make us a cry baby? Would that be sour grapes or would it be simply pointing out something that happened that impacted the outcome of the game? Does it matter if it’s said before he shoots, while he’s shooting or after he shoots?

It’s really no different than saying Georgetown got a break on Green’s last shot against Vandy. You can be self-righteous and say “I would never say that,” but if you are attempting to analyze what happened, it would be naïve and/or short sighted to ignore one play of impact – the Hibbert no call -- and to acknowledge another (such as Wallace’s clutch shot to take the lead or Ellington’s time expiring miss.) They all happened, and they’re all important. To think that each individual play in a game doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of winning and losing is unrealistic. Every play counts and ultimately plays a role in the sum of the parts. How much each play matters depends on the score and the time.

So the question seems to be one of timing. If you say a fourth foul on Hibbert in the first half will impact the game before the game, it’s ANALYSIS, but if you say it after the game, it’s WHINING/SOUR GRAPES?

Things that make you go "Hmmm..."

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