Gorch on the Porch: Refs miss huge call in NCAA final

AP Photo/David J. PhillipNorth Carolina's Kennedy Meeks places his right hand outside of the line as Meeks and Gonzaga's Silas Melson (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.

So maybe someone should have emailed or called the NCAA late in Monday’s championship game between Gonzaga and North Carolina and let them know there was an important missed call right in front of a referee.

(Yes, that’s a cynical reference to the Ladies Professional Golf Association debacle over the weekend in which a television viewer emailed the LPGA about a rules infraction on Saturday on leader Lexi Thompson, but the LPGA did nothing about it until the middle of her final round while she was leading by two strokes.)

Maybe he was tired of blowing his whistle since I think the two teams were called for a combined 87 fouls, but I could be off. I had a hard time sleeping with the sound of whistles going through my head.

You see, in the close game down the stretch, UNC’s Kennedy Meeks and Gonzaga’s Silas Melson went to the floor for a loose ball. Meeks was able to tie up Melson and the official, who was standing just four feet away with the perfect angle, called it a jump ball.

One huge problem, though. Meeks’ hand was clearly out of bounds — and by clearly, I mean it wouldn’t have been any more obvious if he held a sign up in front of the ref’s face saying, “Hey dummy, my hand is on the floor past the out of bounds line!” — while he was touching the ball in the tie-up. That should have been Gonzaga’s ball and would have made a tremendous difference.

Instead, the cheating Tar Heels — oh wait, did I type that out loud? — won their sixth national title.

What’s that? You don’t like me calling UNC a cheater? Look up North Carolina academic scandal on Google and tell me I’m wrong. Sure, other schools probably do the same thing with academics — do another Google search on Memphis, Derrick Rose, SAT — but UNC got caught big time, and didn’t get punished enough in my humble opinion.

And Gonzaga winning would have been 1,000 times the better story, so sue me if I cheered against the appropriately nicknamed Heels.

In the News-Dispatch NCAA Bracket Contest, Ted Henderson of Michigan City carried over his great Sweet 16 and Elite 8 picks to a victory as the only reader above 100 with 115 points to earn first place and $50. He had the correct final and winner, as if he knew that referee wouldn’t call Meeks out of bounds. Tommy Sosinski Jr. of Westville was a distant second with 99 points, while Larry Arness of Porter was third with 98. They also both had UNC winning.

As for our eight celebrity brackets, Michigan City athletic director Craig Shaman won after his pick to win it all (UNC) came through for 92 total points. Marquette athletic director and girls basketball coach Katie Collignon was second with 65 points and sports reporter Zack Eldridge was third with 64.

• Maybe I should give up on golf: As for that aforementioned LPGA occurrence that still has me angry four days later, I’m seriously thinking about protesting golf … and maybe you can, too. That way, TV ratings can drop while we all send an email to the LPGA or Professional Golf Association USGA and whoever else matters and let them know how stupid it is that fans can contribute to rules enforcement from their couch.

Thompson should protest. She handled it as well as you could expect, being an emotional wreck after being penalized four strokes, but rallying to force a playoff before losing in the LPGA major. But she shouldn’t have been in that position.

First, it was a day later. Second, just the fact that a fan can impact a professional sporting event from his or her living room is hilariously idiotic.

Can we send an email to the National Football League about a missed holding penalty on the game-winning drive? How about an egregious missed strike call in a televised baseball game that was well within the Pitch Trax box? Or a slashing call missed in a hockey game?

Of course we can’t, but I guess golf is different. Not only is it a “gentleman’s game” but it must also be an illogical game.

Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at sgorches@thenewsdispatch.com or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches.

NCAA BRACKET CONTEST

115 — Ted Henderson

99 — Tommy Sosinski Jr.

98 — Larry Arness

94 — Dave Havlin

86 — Dave Pahl

81 — Michael Chism

78 — Jackolyn Woodard, Martha Tryon

76 — Dick Scrivnor, Faye Ann

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