Kansas had the ball down one in the final minute of their Elite Eight matchup with Villanova when Devonte Graham lost the ball. He dove to get it, and that dive happened to carry him into the legs of Villanova's Josh Hart. Graham was called for a foul on that dive, which upset a lot of people.
That foul meant a turnover, giving Villanova the ball at a critical juncture. They hit two free throws, and although Kansas tried to battle back, the Wildcats hung on for a 64-59 win and are headed to the Final Four.
Would 100 percent of refs make this call? Of course not, and it would be fine if this went uncalled.
But a lot of people on Twitter acted as if this was one of the worst calls ever made, and ... well ... it seems like a pretty reasonable call to me. Graham's dive sent another player to the ground, and it's not completely ludicrous for a referee to call that a foul.
Hart was standing still and Graham's body rolls into his leg and knocks him over. Obviously Graham didn't intend to knock over Hart -- he was just trying to get to the ball -- but intent doesn't really matter. A foul is a foul, regardless of whether you intend it to be one. Jumping into a guy's legs and knocking them over might be called a foul whether you're on offense, defense, or scrambling for a loose ball.
Honestly, it is a little bit tragic. This was an example of great hustle by Graham, and you want to see him rewarded for that. And you want to see a game decided by the players, not the refs, late in games. And this was Graham's fifth foul, thanks to several questionable-to-bad calls on him from earlier in the game.
But Graham dove into a guy's legs. If you jump and that jump takes you into an opponent's legs, there is a chance the referee will interpret that jump as a foul!
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