Bracket Challenge: And the winner is ...

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1. Justin Woodd – 51

2. Matt Miracle – 50

3. Mikayla Kennaugh – 46

Congratulations to Justin Woodd, the winner of the Shoshone News-Press’s first ever Bracket Challenge!

The Final Four was a heck of a good ride, but all good things must come to an end as they usually do in April.

The final weekend for college hoops was a good one, but there definitely were issues to be had, especially in the two games that Virginia played.

First, it was the missed double dribble that (for some reason) was immediately pointed out by “officiating expert” Gene Steratore as Virginia’s game against Auburn wrapped up.

That missed call was followed by Kyle Guy being fouled on a 3-point attempt he never should have gotten. Three freebies later and Auburn’s dream run was over.

Then, in the National Championship against Texas Tech, an instant replay gave them possession of the ball on an out-of-bounds play that completely shifted the momentum of the game.

While the call may have been “correct” the methodology behind it was shocking. A Virginia player knocked the ball out of the hands of a Texas Tech player, in any other regard that call goes in favor of offensive player, but in super slow motion, it was determined that even though it was knocked out of the Texas Tech player’s hands it still touched his pinky last and Virginia reclaimed possession.

One hundred percent of the time that call goes the other way if it isn’t reviewed — no questions.

For 38 minutes that call goes one way, but suddenly the rule changes and it doesn’t. I do not like that.

Now, I was happy for the Cavaliers to win after last year’s embarrassing loss to #16 UMBC; however the use of instant replay, to me, tainted some of it.

Why are we only using the replay in the last 2 minutes of the game? Why is human judgment fine for 38 minutes, but in the last two it suddenly becomes not enough? Why are certain things reviewable and others not?

However, congratulations to Tony Bennett and the Virginia Cavaliers on their first National Championship.

Wrapping up our panel discussion will be once again myself, Caleb McDonald, and Matt Miracle.

• • •

Question 1: Who was the most outstanding player in this tournament?

MATT: Most outstanding player for me while short lived had to be Carsen Edwards. It was clear early that if Purdue were to advance through the gauntlet Carsen would have to play superhero and he did a valiant job in that quest.

CALEB: I thought that Kyle Guy had a great run late in the tournament to get Virginia to their first championship ever.

JOSH: Matt Mooney was possibly the most unheralded player in the tournament despite being the giant killer he was for Texas Tech. Jarrett Culver went ghost in the Final Four and Mooney stepped up and kept them in it.

Question 2: Thoughts on the use of instant replay?

CALEB: I think it needs to be used less to still give the game a human element.

MATT: Instant replay for me is a give and take. I feel it takes away from the game and it adds to it as well. I don’t think we will ever find a system everyone will be happy with. You want replay when you need it and wish it didn’t exist when it benefits the other guy. It’s a necessary evil.

JOSH: The idea behind it is good, but it needs to be an all or nothing thing. Calls shouldn’t change from one minute to another just because you can go and review them. Maybe coaches should get a challenge system similar to football?

Question 3: Thoughts on the Virginia/Auburn double dribble situation?

JOSH: While it is a tough call, especially in that situation, why couldn’t it have been reviewed an overturned? If Gene Steratore saw it why didn’t a call get made to the table official to let them know?

MATT: Virginia/Auburn was tough to watch and swallow because of how obvious the no call was after the fact however it’s an odd play and very little amounts of people would’ve/did pick that up in real time. For me here I like to focus on the clutch shot/free throws that still needed to be knocked down by Kyle Guy.

CALEB: Auburn should have won the game. I don’t know how they miss a double dribble ... but hey, that is that human element I was talking about.

Question 4: Favorite moment of the tournament?

MATT: Oh boy. There were a few. I’m going to be a homer here and go with Michigan State’s win over Duke and the clutch Goins three over maybe the most athletic force the NCAA has seen in Zion. Definitely a top 5 moment in Spartan history.

CALEB: My favorite moment was watching Gonzaga lose to Texas Tech. It was a great game and day for me.

JOSH: I watch the whole thing just for One Shining Moment …

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