How refreshing is this? Almost nobody blamed the officials after the wacky finish to Saturday’s Butler-Pittsburgh game.
Not only did broadcasters and sportswriters not find fault, some of them dispensed praise.
Time to toot horns for NCAA referees (Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald)
What was most impressive, however, was the postgame performance of coaches and players. Responding under the greatest pressure that sports can bring, they exhibited class up and down the line, with nobody disputing two foul calls in the final 1.4 seconds:
From Butler coach Brad Stevens: “You hate to see a game end that way. But I asked (Sheldon Mack), did he think he fouled (Gilbert Brown), and he thought he fouled him. And (Matt Howard) thought he got fouled. So that was the way the game ended.”
From Pitt coach Jamie Dixon: “It’s their call. It’s their game, and they did a very good job all the way through. And we’re not going to blame officials. But I’m very proud of our guys, and as always, I’ll take responsibility for the loss….
“I think you gotta call it consistently all the way through. It doesn’t change from time to time, team to team at any time.”
From Pitt player Nasir Robinson, who committed the final foul: “I blame myself. I am smarter than that. I have been playing this game too long to make a dumb mistake like that.”
All of that makes you proud to be associated with college athletics.