Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 3/30/14
I’m thrilled that replay challenges are now going to be part of the game in Major League Baseball. But there’s also one big worry that’s nagging at me right now. That’s the concern that it might turn into what we’re seeing in college basketball at the NCAA Tournament.
The finish of Saturday’s Arizona-Wisconsin game was absolutely pathetic, and in this case replay was the culprit. It’s bad enough that the final minutes of almost every close game are taking forever with the endless fouls and inevitable stoppages to determine whether there’s an extra tenth of one second that belongs on the clock. But I guess it’s better to get the time on the clock right, and if that takes a handful of seconds to check, so be it.
That was not the case at the close of the overtime between the Wildcats and Badgers. This misadventure began with a questionable charging call on Arizona. That was not subject to review. But ball possession was following a deflected entry pass that went out of bounds. The call on the floor was Wisconsin basketball.
That’s where bad went to worse, as the stripes could not figure out whose ball it was supposed to be. The rule is very transparent on this. There has to be clear evidence the call on the floor was incorrect, or it stands as is. This crew proceeded to mull things over for a full five minutes and then decided, despite no really good angle, to reverse the call and give the ball to Arizona.
The explanation was that the ball “changed directions.” So that means what? Of course it changed directions, it had to as it was deflected. I still haven’t seen anything that indicated beyond doubt that it went off one of the Badgers, but the ‘Cats got the ball.
First off, I’m of the opinion the refs changed their call because they knew they’d probably blown the previous call against Arizona. I think this was straight make-up. Regardless, taking five minutes to arrive at the decision is unacceptable.
It’s time for a time limit to be instituted to prevent inordinate delays such as this one. Refs should have 60 seconds to view whatever replays are available, at which time they must then make a decision. That’s ample time to either recognize an error and correct it, or to let the original call stand as is.
Baseball 2014 is here! There’s one game tonight, 13 tomorrow and we’re off and running. There are a couple of days remaining for the guaranteed April special. Get all the details by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have generally gotten out of the gate quickly in baseball, and can’t wait to get things rolling again this season!
Wisconsin was a winner as the Saturday comp. Today’s free play is an NBA spot that looks pretty good to me.
03/30 03:05 PM NBA (707) MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (708) BROOKLYN NETS
Take: (708) BROOKLYN NETS -4
Revenge is a definite factor at the college level. At that level, emotion has a tendency to mean more than at the professional level. Therefore, I generally won’t give much weight to the result of a prior meeting when analyzing the NBA.
But there are exceptions, and I believe there’s such a spot on today’s board. The previous clash between the Nets and Timberwolves was as ugly as it gets from Brooklyn’s point of view. The Nets got destroyed from the opening tip en route to lopsided 30 point loss, and it was every bit that bad.
Much has changed for the Nets since that unfortunate result. At the time, Brooklyn was getting crushed and there was lots of buzz as to whether Jason Kidd would last until Christmas as the team’s head coach. That’s all a distant memory now, as the Nets have rallied to forge a respectable record and they loom as the should win at least one round in the playoffs.
The Nets have been outstanding at home for some time, having covered 16 of their last 21 in Brooklyn. They’ve also been hard to handle when rested, as is the case tonight. As for the Timberwolves, they’re in what has been a negative situation lately. For whatever reason, this team has had a really bad time coming off a game where they put up a big offensive showing. After scoring 143 in the blowout over the Lakers on Friday, it’s a potential bounce scenario for the Wolves.
It looks to me like a game that with nothing but the numbers to work with, Brooklyn looms as a decent choice. Add in what should be a motivational edge, and I feel good about laying the very reasonable number with the Nets.