Ohio State knocked off Iowa State on a last-second three-pointer from Aaron Craft in the NCAA Tournament Third Round on Sunday, but the possession prior to the buzzer-beater is the hot topic of debate. Craft stepped in on a driving Will Clyburn. The two collided, and the baseline referee called a charge and gave the ball to Ohio State.
From that moment on the broadcast, then on the postgame show, there has been debate over whether or not Craft was inside the restricted circle under the basket. Even NCAA head of officials John Adams was unsure, but felt the call may have been wrong because Craft's heel was inside the circle. Charles Barkley, Greg Anthony, and the rest of CBS' crew discussed that point with him:
Here is the position of his feet isolated:
Hard to tell, right? Well, it really doesn't matter. By the NCAA's definition, the play by Craft was a block, and it has nothing to do with the position of his feet.
Whether or not the heel is inside the arc isn't be the only thing that matters. In fact, the NCAA was concerned about that very point last summer, and tried to address the assumption that officials have become too dependent on the line and ignore other aspects of the block/charge call.
Before the offensive player (with the ball) becomes airborne, the defender must have two feet on the floor, be facing the opponent and be stationary to draw a charge. Otherwise, it should be a blocking foul.
The video above shows that Clyburn became airborne before Craft was able to set his feet and become stationary. Craft settled himself as Clyburn flew at him, effectively undercutting Clyburn. The call isn't easy, but it is a block. This may be a case of the official relying too much on that arc.
If the play was called correctly, Iowa State would have scored with a free throw coming. Instead, Ohio State was playing in a tie game on its final possession, and Craft's shot was enough to send the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16.