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Luke Hancock, a quick whistle and the controversial jump ball

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Let's run down the events that unfolded leading to that last, controversial jump ball in the Wichita State-Louisville game.

We could've seen the Louisville-Wichita State game decided on the court, without the intervention of officials. I think this was the desired outcome, no matter what would've happened: We all want to see the players play, and a chance for a late shot to tie or win a game is the most exciting part of basketball. We didn't get that on Saturday thanks to a controversial jump ball call that gave Louisville possession, allowing the Cardinals to ice the game.

In order to understand the situation, we have to go back a bit. This was the Butterfly Effect play that led to the game's conclusion.


That play was called a double foul, despite Ron Baker getting popped in the face. That smack probably could've been called a flagrant. Instead, it was a double foul, which functions the same as a tie-up. The arrow was with Wichita State, so the Shockers kept the ball, but Louisville got the all-important arrow.

Now fast forward to the late jump ball. Once again, Baker found himself right in the thick of the action. He came down with the rebound after Hancock missed the second of two free throws, but was off-balance. This led to him taking a dribble to avoid the travel, but also caused him to drift right into Luke Hancock. Observe:


One can make a few arguments here, and there's a few different outcomes. The actual call was a jump ball, but the whistle came very quickly. This is what drew the ire of many. The tie-up was brief and Baker came out with possession of the ball. From a viewer's perspective, it seems pretty obvious that he never really lost possession and was barely tied up.

But wait!


One could make a convincing argument that if the tie-up wasn't called, Baker should've been called for a travel. His feet are all over the place, as you can see above.

The other option here is a foul on Hancock, but he has good position, Baker was careening out of control, and from the reverse angle it's tough to say that's a foul at all.

So what happened? Perhaps like the double foul, the refs reverted to a tie-up as a ... tiebreaker. Maybe there was a hint of a foul, a hint of a travel and somewhat of a tie-up. They had to call something -- there was too much contact and too many steps. The arrow made the ultimate call.

The issue here is that Wichita State probably shouldn't have lost the arrow in the first place, unless Baker getting popped in the face is really worth calling a double foul for. Change that and everything changes. Instead, we're left to wonder if Wichita State would've been able to make a play near the end of the game or, perhaps, extend the game. It was still a tough road for the Shockers, but it sure would've been neat to see it all play out.