Parting Thoughts on the Syracuse “Win”

It still hurts. I’m still mad. Am I an NC State Homer? Yes, and unabashedly so. Did the overall better team win on Saturday? Yes. Did the better team on Saturday win? Emphatically, no. NC State came with a recipe to win that game and for all accounts, we should have won that game. Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. Chalk this up to another in a long history of NC State Shit.

In my commute in this morning, I was listening to Mark & Mike on 620. And the standard line is this: NC State had two costly turnovers to end the game that set Syracuse up for the win. NC State could have won that game despite the bad call. Is that true? Sure. Unnecessary passes that resulted in turnovers did cause the Wolfpack to lose that game. What isn’t in question is that a bad call was made on the TJ Warren and one that was called a foul on the floor. Regardless of the rule that, on a breakaway run, the defensive player cannot simply foul from behind or else that is the very definition of a flagrant foul. We should’ve had shots plus the ball, or at the very least, an and one opportunity to put us up by at least 3, if not 4 if we convert the free throw.

The line from the radio guys plus sports prognosticators around the local sports world is that Syracuse made plays to win the game and NC State squandered its opportunity. Oh the Pack shouldn’t have had those two late turnovers. Oh the Pack should’ve sunk more free throws during the course of the game. If I’m reading that correctly, unless we have 0 turnovers and a 100% rate on free throw conversions, then we have no room to bitch about officiating. I get that sports radio and sports journalism is about attracting listeners and readers. Do I expect folks who are paid for an opinion to be 100% fair and open? No. Just as I don’t expect to get a fair stance from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC or Sean Hannity on Fox News. What drives listeners on radio / TV and clicks on the Internet is divisiveness. It makes for good radio. It makes for good TV. Otherwise, it would be boring. I get that driving a wedge and salting the wounds of Pack fans makes for good broadcasts (and other teams too, I’m not saying “oh woe is me”).

But that line is so dishonest and so disingenuous. Yes, NC State could have won despite the bad call. But NC State did enough to win that game and we, or any other team, should not be expected to win despite horrid officiating. If that were the case then what makes NCAA basketball any different than “professional” wrestling? The margin for error for a Pack team on the road against the #1 team in the nation is 0. Add a critical late bad call and the odds certainly stack up against you.

Without a horrible call, the likelihood that the Pack travels to Syracuse (the day of, mind you) and takes a win from the #1 team in the country is all but settled. Could we have scored 100 points? Sure we could have. Could we have operated with no turnovers over the course of the game? Sure, I suppose it’s possible. Could we have hit every single free throw? I guess. Did we need to? Hell no. And that’s why I remain salty and angry.

I wouldn’t be penning this article had TJ Warren gotten the appropriate call and we went up 4 points and still produced a series of turnovers that led to an eventual loss. The officiating was still suspect (how we were in the double bonus and they weren’t even in a single bonus to end that game is still beyond me) but I wouldn’t be as mad. Had we been blown out by 20 like I suspected deep down, I would have been mad for a bevy of other reasons but not directed towards Clogherty’s Crew.

This doesn’t help the NCAA. It doesn’t help the ACC. The hierarchy in “official dominated” sports is basketball -> football -> baseball. Basketball, both professional and collegiate, is becoming more difficult to watch based on the subjectiveness of officiating. The list of football teams being robbed of a win is vastly shorter (The Russell Wilson walk off interception comes to mind during the replacement referee period in the NFL). The list of baseball teams being robbed of a win can likely be counted on a single hand or two.

And it seems NC State is making a bit of history with this. That’s why “NC State Shit” is such a popular meme. Go back to the 1989 regional semifinals where a pivotal travel was called on Chris Corchiani is now dubbed “the worst call in NCAA History”. Mind you that the “travel” should’ve been a Chris Corchiani and-one which would have fouled out Alonzo Mourning (fast forward to the 6:00 mark).

I get that hearing NC State fans bitch about officiating is tired. But instead of directing jokes towards salty Pack fans, why isn’t there more of a dialog on the fact that the referee made the wrong call which resulted in a Syracuse win. (Note I’m not saying it prevented a Wolfpack win, but it most certainly and unarguably resulted in the Syracuse win although the Orange may have been able to win with the correct call). That’s what I don’t get from the local media. The line is always “well NC State should’ve have made that second free throw at the 18:42 mark of the first half”.

The wrong call was made. NC State fans will bitch about it and continue to bitch about it. And guess what? We have the full right to do so.

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Home Forums Parting Thoughts on the Syracuse “Win”

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    It still hurts. I’m still mad. Am I an NC State Homer? Yes, and unabashedly so. Did the overall better team win on Saturday? Yes. Did the better team
    [See the full post at: Parting Thoughts on the Syracuse “Win”]


    I didn’t think the Cuse player committed a flagrant foul – he actually made a swipe at the ball. But I did think it should have been an “and one”, and that would have salted the game.

    Still, and here come all the pithforks, we should have won that one. Our late game execution continues to be a problem. Not only did we inbound it to the corner – the teeth of the Cuse trap – but nobody moved. All four players just stood there watching. There was no play. So that to me is concerning. And these are points that coaches must make and hope that the players grasp on the fly without a TO in your pocket.


    Answer this: should we have been expected to win when 2 if not 3 points were taken off the board in a Syracuse 1-point victory? That is the point.


    It’s areas like this where bias seems to play the largest role in viewing the issue, on both sides. Instead of focusing on whether or not State should’ve won, it would be better to focus on that specific play: Was TJW fouled in the process of shooting/continuation foul? From there, the rest can be argued to death.

    And while it’s frustrating to get jobbed, State will be much better off to focus on what it can control and close out games. If fouls and a let-them-play mentality rules the last minute of a game, our guys should play by those rules as well. We should get more aggressive; something i have not yet seen.


    I just wish officials were held accountable for their calls. I’m sure there is a review done by the league after each game – that report should be made public so that all coaches and players (and fans) have the proper expectations going forward. And if a bad call is made, then it is acknowledged. It wouldn’t change the outcome, but at least it wouldn’t feel like we were being completely ignored. The kids that played on that court deserve to have their hard work acknowledged that mistakes by grown men took away from them.


    People can argue all day about the TJW foul, but the constant fouls called away from the ball that enabled Syracuse to score during much of the second half are what still has me angry. They were constantly getting all of their points from the charity stripe (17-1 free throw count at one point).


    Well written. Especially the part about talk radio being all about ‘poking the bear’, not so much about accuracy or even expressing the true opinions of the hosts.That’s why I don’t let them get me too wound up.And also why I do not listen to that Joe and Adam show.

    However, I want State to get credit for playing a great game against a really good team. I don’t want to hear that Syracuse was awful. We came in with a solid game plan, executed it well, and out played them.

    Yea, we gave the game away. And as frequently is the case, there was a disputed call. It’s a loss. It’s over. I hate it. Let’s beat Clemson.

    But give us credit for playing well.


    I agree that the Pack played a good game and hats off to Coach Gottfried (and the assistants) for putting together such a good game plan both offensively and defensively. Still some wins to be had that could bolster their tourny resume and it all starts in Little John Coliseum tomorrow night. Will be interesting to see how this young team reacts.


    ^I can see the criticism of the second half whistle disparity. As said elsewhere, you can generally complain about the number of ticky tack fouls every single game. The call on the Warren play was correct. Nobody I stood beside watching that game–everyone of them Pack fans–thought it was a bad call at the time or after the replay. I still don’t. But I can point to many other questionable calls.

    And tobacco, the suggestion that players and coaches could improve their play and execution doesn’t suggest that you need perfection in order to win and offset poor officiating. It does suggest against quality competition, particularly the #1 team on their court, you need to limit mistakes, play smart, and execute. One call is just that, one call.


    Chalking it up to “one call” does not do justice to the critical time in which it happened. This call in the first half would be forgotten. The call with 16 seconds left that would put us in pole position changed the dynamic of the game. And that cannot be ignored.


    And tobacco, the suggestion that players and coaches could improve their play and execution doesn’t suggest that you need perfection in order to win and offset poor officiating.

    Whiteshoes, what it does suggest is that if there was an error, then the media line will be “well they should’ve hit that free throw” regardless if we were 19/20 from the line. Or if we went and had 3 turnovers over the course of the game. If we get jobbed by the officials, the errors will undoubtedly be used as evidence that the Wolfpack lost and didn’t deserve to win.

    Which is intellectually untrue and dishonest.


    OK how about another view? If the Pack was in the bonus given the awful free throw shooting the team showed in the first half would there have even been a question about one call late in the game? Maybe the call on the TJW play was wrong or maybe it was not. Regardless the Pack was in a position to salt away the game at a number of points late and in failed to do so. I know my view is not popular here but it is what it is. I thought the team played very well but not enough to take the decision on the game away from an officials call. Syracuse tightened the screws late which they have done all year.


    I’m not going to comment on what’s done, because it’s done and the media is already jumping on the “lunatic fringe” rationalization, so we, as State fans end up looking like a bunch of whiners, which I don’t enjoy.

    Instead, I’m looking to the future. We have 6 winnable games ahead of us. We need our team to have the kind of focus and effort that we put into the Syracuse game for each of the 6 games.

    After watching the game on Saturday, I’m convinced that we can win all 6 of our remaining games, leaving us 22-9 and 12-6 in conference going into the ACC tournament. That is far, far better than I would have guessed.

    We play a smart, controlled game, never had a significant period where we allowed Syracuse to take control of the game, always kept it within reach. Sure, the game wasn’t perfect, but Syracuse is a tough team also, tougher than anyone left on our schedule.

    So, I hope the coaching staff can properly use our play and loss to motivate our players going into Clempson, and that our player take their play to mean that with the right effort, we can beat anyone, without the right effort, we can lose to anyone.

    Go Pack!


    If fouls and a let-them-play mentality rules the last minute of a game, our guys should play by those rules as well. We should get more aggressive; something i have not yet seen.

    But that’s the thing. If our guys played like that, all of our starters would foul out within 30 seconds. The let-them-play mentality seems to apply to only one side. You saw it with all these ticky-tack off ball calls in this game. I know you’ve seen it in countless other games throughout the years as well.

    There’s a lack of inconsistency, there’s a trend of our opponent – whomever it is – being the beneficiary of that inconsistency, and that’s why a lot of us continue to be so frustrated.


    The really upsetting thing is this: I suppose winning the ACC tournament is somewhere within the realm of possibility, but barring that sign of the Apocalypse, our chance at an NCAA bid just left town with that loss.

    Does a bid to the NIT or one of these other also-ran tournaments really do anything for anyone? Knowing where all the attention will be focused, I can’t bear the thought of the team having to go through those motions. Of course, I’m not playing or coaching, so I don’t know except from a fan’s perspective.

    Excitement? Apathy? Anything other than disappointment?


    This one hurts…I mean it really really hurts. This is my first visit to SFN since the loss. I intentionally did not want to express any thoughts given the emotions I was experiencing. Now that I have had a chance to digest what occurred, I must say that despite the officiating (which may have been one-sided), the game was ours to win and we did not finish. Now, step back, take a deep breath, and realize WE HAVE A YOUNG (but talented) TEAM. The team will make great plays (Cat drawing the charge in the final seconds) and the team will also make plays that will create frustration (the two late turnovers). This is to be expected, but our team took the Orangmen to the wire in the Carrier Dome. The fact that this team was picked to finish last in the conference and they are now in the middle of the standings should give us hope for the future. I am very proud of what our team has accomplished thus far – Go Pack!


    We were not picked to finish last – we were picked to finish 10th.

    We certainly have the ability to win the last 6 but we all know there is going to be a WTF loss somewhere, and UNC just has our number. So it’s going to be close. Very close. My hunch is the ACC Tourney is going to be crucial to our post season fate.


    ^^^ Cosmo96 said:

    There’s a lack of consistency, there’s a trend of our opponent – whomever it is – being the beneficiary of that inconsistency, and that’s why a lot of us continue to be so frustrated.

    I’d like to see documentation of this trend. I’m sure it (the documentation) doesn’t exist, except in our brains as NC State fans.

    None of the conspiracy theory statements, particularly those that indicate that NC State has been singled out hold any water, and just make it easier for the media to go back to the “lunatic fringe” title for us.

    Yes, over the years, there have been bad calls at bad times against us. But just a few weeks ago, Pitt had Syracuse by 6 with 1:45 left in the game and Syracuse outscore Pitt 10-2 the rest of the game. I didn’t see the game, but I guarantee with the microscope we put on the game, if it was State losing that one we would have picked out 14 missed calls, two goal tends, and bench technical.

    We’ve got to stop using the ref’s as our excuse for losing and establish a winning culture.

    And, if you want to drag conspiracy into it, go with it this way:

    1. The perceived “better” team is NEARLY ALWAYS going to get the benefit of the doubt in a 50/50 situation

    So, we need to make ourselves the “better” team.


    When we were figuring out how to get to the dance, this was the least expected win. Were still on track although it is up hill. 5-1 in but should win on Thurs in Tourney, 4-2 bubble, need to win Thursday and Friday to be sure.
    But, on step at a time. We need to win at Clemson, and then get it done at VT.

    But I gotta say, if letting them play is best for the end of the game then why even call the foul on Warren’s shot. That call did nothing but hurt us.


    I didn’t see a flagrant foul, but I did see an INTENTIONAL foul. When a player is on a breakaway to the basket and a trailing defender, who is not in position to block his path, reaches in and commits a foul, it simply HAS to be considered by the refs to be an intentional foul.

    What gets me about where the college game is going is that the game can be stopped for 5 minutes trying to determine if one or two-tenths of a second should be put back on the clock, but a play like this gets no scrutiny whatsoever. Even the most biased “Homer” in the Dome who saw this play would have to admit that State got rooked. I think the correct call would have been the basket AND a foul, resulting in a possible 3-point play and Syracuse ball if the free throw had been made.

    As a result, we have gone from being on the right side of the NCAAT bubble to being on the wrong side of the NCAAT bubble if we lose tomorrow night. I really don’t see any scenario that gets us into the NCAAT if we lose at Clemson, except to win out and make it to Sunday in Greensboro.


    I generally stick to discussing how the game was played, or might have been played, versus called because it’s what you can control as players and coaches. We got called for 18 fouls, about our game average. That said, there were some cheapo fouls, and we still played well enough to win. We’re not a great defensive team, although I’m pleased with Gott’s use of zone and man. Fans like to talk about bad calls. I get it. You rarely, if ever, hear about them when you win, either from fans, coaches, or players. You remember them when you lose.


    Inside the locker room the speech should be something to the effect of
    ” In 2012 we were jobbed at Duke and in the ACC T vs the holes. We overcame then, made the NCAA T and reached the Sweet 16. Keep the pressure on and either win o make the powers that be continue to out themselves as biased”

    As fans, we are absolutely entitled to point out the crookedness of the system shed light on the gross injustice of the biased reffing. Last call not withstanding, the parade of questionable fouls in the 2H, clearly adjusting the reffing style to benefit Cuse, when they were struggling to score against our D is sickening.

    AS fans we should also admit that we should be able to possess the ball long enough to get a foul at the end of the game and credit Cuse for a good last defensive posession.


    It is only called intentional when there is no play on the ball. Such as grabbing the back of the jersey or sticking a leg out to slow a player. The Cuse player caught up with Warren and swiped at the arms. It is questionable if he got any ball, but remember these calls are made in real time. He tried to dislodge the ball, and for most refs that is what they see in that situation. They want to see a play made on the ball.


    There is no excuse when playing in the best basketball league in the country to have such blatantly one sided officiating. Until the refs are held accountable and disciplined by the league it will never end. Wake up Swafford there is no room in this league for your thug refs to predict tendencies and call one sided games.


    Say what you like but we have been on the losing end of a helluva lot of close games due to questionable calls. It seems to happen with uncanny regularity. This is just one more in a long series.

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