Sunday, March 9, 2008

(NOT) FOULING TYLER HANSBROUGH

Evidently, there is a new unspoken rule in ACC regular season basketball: Any given player is allowed 321 free throw attempts and only 321. That’s it. No more than that.

On PTI on Friday, Duke coach Mike Krzydfgvb5ski said it was Duke’s job to stop North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough. He must have told his guys not to foul the Sports Illustrated Player of the Year, and they listened.

Remarkably, the Devils (according to referees Karl Hess, Ted Valentine and Roger Ayers) never laid a hand on the Tar Heel junior (photographic evidence to the contrary). Subsequently, Hansbrough did not attempt a free throw for the only time this year, and just the second time in his career (against George Mason in 2005-06 NCAA second round loss). No free throw attempts. Zero, zip, nada, zilch...None.

Hansbrough holds the career record for free throw attempts at UNC by an ever-widening (except last night) margin. He’s been to the charity stripe 321 times this year…but not once last night.

While Hansbrough did make good use of his developing mid-range jump shot, he did spend the majority of his working time (a game high 37 minutes) doing what he does best -- getting shots in the paint and drawing fouls while he’s at it.

Not last night. Hansbrough took 21 shots -- the majority were taken in traffic -- and no Duke Blue Devil committed a single foul on any one of those 21 shots.

Huh?

We surmise the refs decided to “let the boys play.” And play they did.

Ole Roy just said post game that he “wasn’t happy” with every call. When asked specifically about Hansbrough not going to the free throw line, he said he was “shocked."

(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images, and Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

6 comments:

  1. Even thought I am highly biased (a rabid UNC fan), I thought that the "no-calls" were consistent throught the second half of the game. Fouls were called a lot closer in the first half, but I don't think that either team got a significant advantage with the way that it was called in the second.

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  2. You are surprised that Duke was not called for fouling Hansbrough at home? When has Dukle ever been called for fouling anyone at home?

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  3. We didn't mean to insinuate that Duke got foul calls and UNC didn't. Nobody got foul calls. They just didn't call ANY. -- TAH

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  4. But from that Duke game until tonight's game against WSU (and I'm sure beyond), the officials definitely seem to have been treating Tyler differently.

    My Duke friends think that Tyler was constantly "wriggling" into calls by moving to the basket with strong body movement that makes it *look* like he's being pulled on. (I think that this opinion is a bit exaggerated but not totally undeniable.) But now even some of the most blatant foul calls are not going Tyler's way, like they're making up for the previous overabundance of calls.

    Call it conspiracy but I would bet that Tyler's trips to the free throw line are significantly less on average over these games (ACC & NCAA tourneys) than they were over the season--even if you count the 2nd Duke game into that average!

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  5. Lets raise 2 questions:

    1) How many times does Tyler take a "phantom" extra step that never ends up being a travelling call?

    2) How many times does Tyler commit a foul that never gets called?

    answer to both---waaaaaaay too many.

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  6. I'm sure that #1 happens; I'm not so sure about #2, at least not any more than any other big men in the middle. (I mean look at A&M and UCLA as a prime example.) And perhaps he does it less; it's not like he's swatting at the ball like a shot-blocker.

    And of course all of this has a lot to do with the officiating itself and what the officials have been trained/pushed to look for. My only point was that it seems that they've been looking (or NOT looking) for different things since the Duke game. Nevertheless, Tyler took the team on his shoulders and got Carolina to the Final Four.

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