The play has been discussed a great deal. I don’t need to take you through it — you know the details. You saw Davide Moretti of Texas Tech have the ball get knocked out of his hand by De’Andre Hunter of Virginia in Monday night’s national championship game at the Final Four in Minneapolis.
Officials ruled the ball off Hunter live but then went to the monitor and overturned the call because the ball slid off Moretti’s pinky finger.
Was this a new play? Was this a one-of-a-kind experience? Did this surprise you? Were you caught off guard by not just the replay review, but the overturn?
Maybe you had to do something else with your life in the last of the four Elite Eight games from the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Maybe you had a prior commitment. Maybe you had to work.
If you watched Duke play Kansas in Omaha, however, and you watched the overtime period, you know that the Moretti-Hunter play — the initial sequence, the decision to review, and then the decision to overturn the original call in favor of the team without the ball — occurred one year earlier.
The role of Moretti was played by Duke’s Javin DeLaurier. The role of Hunter was played by Silvio De Sousa of Kansas. Here you go:
Duke or Kansas ball?! pic.twitter.com/BHHksXLSBK
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 25, 2018
The original live-play call was Duke ball.
The referees went to the monitor.
They reversed the call to give the ball to Kansas. The Jayhawks won the game.
The Moretti-Hunter call was not unprecedented. This was precedent.
The Moretti-Hunter call was not aberrational. This play a year ago showed that refs would overturn a call even if the impetus of the ball’s movement was initiated by the player without the ball.
Are people angry that Texas Tech got jobbed? Surely some people are, and surely some people’s sense of basketball aesthetics was violated by the notion that the defensive player (the player without the ball) could knock the ball away and get be rewarded with possession for his team.
Yet, I am interested in why the Duke-Kansas Elite Eight game didn’t come up much in discussions of the Texas Tech-Virginia play.
When Duke gets jobbed — not according to the rule book, mind you, but according to the violation of basketball aesthetics mentioned above — do people withhold their anger in response to a dubious use of replay in support of a bad rule which needs to be changed for the 2020 season?
What’s the old saying? One’s an accident, two’s a trend.
Duke was victimized by a bad rule and an unfortunate use of replay in the NCAA Tournament one year before Texas Tech and Davide Moretti were.
It is time to insert a rule which states that the “impetus of the ball” should always give the ball to the tam with the ballhandler in situations such as Duke-Kansas 2018 and Texas Tech-Virginia 2019.
If muted outrage about Duke getting the short end of the stick couldn’t bring about reform in 2018, maybe increased outrage surrounding Texas Tech will lead to reform this offseason, before 2020.
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