Pitchin' with Pritch: NCAA Finals not without controversy

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There is still a little basketball news in the air with the NCAA Men’s contest having some controversy with the officiating and the hiring and firing of coaches that always comes at this time of the year.

There were a couple of calls in the NCAA finals that were not without controversy to say the least. It is pretty much the nature of the sport now, a sport that is dominated by whistles and replays and unblown whistles that require more replays. 

I think the most troublesome part is the length of time it takes for replays to be watched and a decision made. Teams are almost assured of a couple extra time-outs in a game because of these delays. I know if I were coaching, I wouldn’t want to lose a game because of a call that could have been blown. 

I guess it would be safe to say that some calls even caused me to pass out at a game, but I am almost to the point where I would say to give the coaches so many “challenges” in a game. Much like pro-football, if the replay shows a mistake was made, great, if not, the team gets charged with a time-out and you play on. 

Sometimes I just say, do away with the replay and let the officials make the call and play on, I only passed out once in 33 years of coaching, and the human factor is still in the game. 

I am not sure the coaches and players from Auburn and Texas Tech would agree or disagree with me, but even with replay and five-minute time-outs while the officials reviewed the game, there is doubt whether they got it right or not. 

In my review of tapes on the internet, the two big foul-ups were the missed double dribble in finals by the Virginia player and an out-of-bounds call on Tech when Kyle Guy fell down after being tripped by his own player and going out-of-bounds. If the ball would have gone over to Tech they would have had a three-point lead and the ball with 2:45 left in the game. Maybe it is just better as a coach to pass out!

New Husker coach

Also in the college basketball news was the hiring of the next Nebraska men’s head basketball coach. It wasn’t that much of a secret as my son Troy and I were told that Fred Hoiberg was a favorite to be hired and that was back the first of February when we were at the Heartland Hoops Classic in Grand Island. 

Coach Hoiberg, as has been reported, has a number of ties to Nebraska and that probably played some part in his decision to get back in coaching after his dismissal from the Chicago Bulls. Hoiberg’s parents are graduates of UNL, his maternal grandfather Jerry Bush was the head Cornhusker basketball coach from 1954-1963 and his paternal grandfather was a professor at UNL. 

Hoiberg was the head coach at Iowa State and went 115-56 and led the Cyclones to four straight NCAA Tournaments and two Big 12 tournament titles. 

It would appear Hoiberg has the background to bring some success to the Husker basketball program which has the distinction of never winning even one game in the NCAA tournament and only making it to the tournament seven times. 

Hoiberg has hired some assistants, three of them worked with him at Iowa State. Matt Abdelmassih and Bobby Lutz and former Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler were added pretty quickly after Hoiberg’s hiring was announced. 

Hoiberg has great credentials and the athletic leaders opened up the purse just a little as they offered a seven-year contract paying a total of $25 million. I have seen seven coaches now at UNL and I hope this one can put together a very competitive Big 10 and NCAA type of program.

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