To replay or not replay, that is the question.
Official review became a hot topic around the Missouri Valley in the wake of Sunday's Wichita State victory over Illinois State in which a replay of a defensive rebound figured prominently in the Shockers' winning rally.
Some Valley coaches like the use of replay as a means of getting the call correct. Others dislike the delays it brings to games and the straying from some of the original intent of why it was instituted.
Bradley's Geno Ford just flat-out hates the use of replays in any sport.
“I think it breaks the flow of the game, I think officials get the majority of calls correct and there's a part of the game that's human error — for players, coaches and officials,” Ford said. “I don't particularly like it when they stop the game and go look at stuff.
“That doesn't make me right, but that's my personal preference. I am certainly not a fan.”
Neither is Northern Iowa's Ben Jacobson. Several other coaches said on Monday's league teleconference that they can accept the review if it rights a wrong, although they wish the process could be sped up.
One coach who said he is solidly for the use of replay was Illinois State's Dan Muller, whose team lost Sunday's game in part to an official review that led to the issuing of a flagrant one technical foul on the Redbirds' Jackie Carmichael.
“It does take a long time sometimes, and I don't like how it can give a team an extra timeout because of how long they (referees) talk about it,” Muller said. “But I'm for getting it right.”
Muller's team was leading 65-60 with about 40 seconds to play when Carmichael turned in a play that had the Twitter world tagging him as the “Karate Kid” and the “Kung Fu rebounder.”
The athletic, 6-foot-9 Carmichael soared through the air, snatched a missed Wichita State shot and, before landing, kicked Wichita State's Tekele Cotton in the chest.
No foul was called until play was stopped after a Wichita State foul. As is his right under the rules, Shockers coach Gregg Marshall asked the officials to review the rebounding play.
After viewing the replay, the officiating crew of Gerry Pollard, Paul Janssen and David Hall ruled that Carmichael's kick had been intentional, resulting in a flagrant one foul. After Illinois State made two free throws for a 67-60 lead, Wichita State's Cleanthony Early made two free throws and, with Wichita State retaining possession, buried a 3-point shot to get his team within two points.
An Illinois State turnover gave Wichita State the ball back seconds later. Early made the game-winning 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left to give his team the 68-67 victory that kept it in first place, a game ahead of Creighton with three games to play.
On Monday, the Valley disciplined the officiating crew, not for the call but for allowing the wrong player to shoot the free throws on the flagrant foul. Cotton, a 58.6-percent free-throw shooter, should have been the Shocker at the line, not Early, the team's best free-throw shooter at 80.5 percent.
Originally instituted to allow officials to review last-second shots, the use of replays has been expanded to cover a number of scenarios ranging from timing to scoring issues. Most recently, its use has expanded again to safeguard players from intentional blows to the head.
Nothing wrong with that, Creighton coach Greg McDermott said, except when execution stretches intent, which is what he believes is happening. Although he generally favors replays, McDermott said he is seeing far too many cases when a player is given a flagrant one foul for unintentional contact above the shoulders.
The use of replay to check head shots was done at the coaches' urging, McDermott said.
“I think coaches have to get that changed,” McDermott said. “The intent was to make sure there was not intentional and flagrant swinging of the elbows and to prevent a guy from sizing somebody up and letting him have it.
“I don't think what has transpired is where coaches thought it was going to go.”
At the core of Sunday's call on Carmichael is whether the senior forward intentionally kicked Cotton or whether the contact occurred in the flow of the play. Viewing the play live, it appeared that Carmichael had simply made an athletic play and that contact was unavoidable.
Slow-motion breakdowns did show that the Illinois State player did look at Cotton before thrusting his foot out and making contact.
Carmichael's athleticism definitely contributed to his making a play that few others could.
Carmichael told USA Today on Monday that fellow students were calling him “Jackie Chan Carmichael.”
“Anyone who watches me knows I'm not a dirty player,” Carmichael said. “I saw (the replay). If I was someone who wasn't from our fan base, I guess I would think it was intentional.
“I'm looking at it from my point of view, though, and I didn't mean it. I went up for a rebound like I always do.”
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