Some questionable calls that change the outcome of a game are judgment calls that could technically go either way.
The non-call on Syracuse center Baye Keita’s goaltending was not one of them.
With six seconds left and Syracuse leading by two, West Virginia forward Deniz Kilicli grabbed an offensive rebound after Darryl Bryant missed a 3-pointer. He went up for what looked to be an easy follow – but Keita came out of nowhere and knocked it away after it hit the backboard.
Seemed like a clear call, but there was not a single whistle from the three-man crew of Karl Hess, Gene Steratore and Brian O’Connell. This wasn’t one of the goaltending calls where a shot kind of looks like it’s on the way down depending on the angle – this clearly hit the backboard first, before Keita swatted it away.
A contested Kevin Jones 3-pointer missed at the buzzer, as Syracuse escaped with a 63-61 win. Sure, there would have been six seconds left, even if the goaltending was called. Syracuse would have had a chance to win. That still doesn’t erase the fact it was a horrible missed call.
"It's inexcusable. It's inexcusable," head coach Bob Huggins said, according to RapidReporter Patrick Southern.
This kind of thing is only going to increase the complaints that referees are overworked. For example, let’s look at head official Karl Hess’ schedule for January, courtesy of Statsheet.com.
- January 1: Villanova at Marquette
- January 2: Old Dominion at James Madison
- January 3: Alabama at Georgia Tech
- January 4: UTEP at Marshall
- January 5: Louisiana-Monroe at Florida Atlantic
- January 7: Miami (Fl.) at Virginia
- January 9: Cincinnati at Georgetown
- January 10: Florida State at Virginia Tech
- January 11: Syracuse at Villanova
- January 12: George Mason at Drexel
- January 14: NC State at Wake Forest
- January 15: Duke at Clemson
- January 16: Louisville at Marquette
- January 18: Old Dominion at Towson
- January 19: Virginia at Georgia Tech
- January 21: Connecticut at Tennessee
- January 22: Samford at UNC-Greensboro
- January 23: Drexel at William & Mary
- January 25: Duke at Maryland
- January 26: NC State at North Carolina
- January 28: West Virginia at Syracuse
He’s had seven days off this month – and I’m assuming he’s traveled on at least four or five of them. Throw in the fact he’s refereeing some high-intensity basketball and it’s pretty clear he’s overworked.
Until that problem is taken care of, expect more of these calls.
Or, rather, don't expect any calls.