UNC Topped Gonzaga
It was close, but not well-played. It was dramatic because of the stakes and the score, not because of style, flair or execution.
It was choppy, sloppy, badly officiated and memorable primarily for those reasons. Was it the worst title game ever played?
We should, of course, take a moment to congratulate North Carolina on its sixth men’s basketball championship. UNC topped Gonzaga 71-65 on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona, to cap its revenge tour – remember that the Tar Heels lost last year in this game to Villanova on a buzzer-beater. And congratulations to Gonzaga for reaching its first Final Four and its first title game.
And now, back to the complaint department.
The officials called 52 personal fouls, turning fine defensive plays involving incidental contact into free throws. Could either team hit those free throws? Noooo. The Zags were 17 of 26 (65.4 percent); the Tar Heels made 15 of 26 (5 7.7 percent). Use your best Charles Barkley voice and say: “That’s tuuuurrrrible.”
Gonzaga shot 33.9 percent from the floor; the Tar Heels shot 35.6 percent. Charles?
And while the Zags were 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) shooting 3-pointers, the Tar Heels were 4 of 27 (14.8 percent). Charles?
Now back to the officials. After seeing all of those personal fouls (some of which were actually personal fouls and some of which were imaginary), the three of you don’t see UNC’s Kennedy Meeks with his hand out of bounds as he wrestled Gonzaga’s Silas Melson for a loose ball with 49.1 seconds left? UNC had a one-point lead at the time and Gonzaga should have gotten the ball in a position to change the game.
The call (or non-call) was not a reviewable one, however, and the ensuing jump ball gave possession to UNC. Gonzaga never scored again.
March Madness is fun but it seemed the quality of play and the quality of officiating got worse with each round. The First Four should never be better than the Final Four.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman