I've been around a lot of basketball in my life, so I've seen my share of ugly games. I watched the best team I ever coached allow a bunch a scrubs to hang a 19-0 run on them in the first three minutes of a game. I had court side seats when Oregon State made 6-25 free throws. I sat through FSU-Harvard.
But nothing prepared me for this game. It was absolutely unwatchable. And this is coming from someone who finds basketball to be about the most fascinating thing on the planet. I love basketball. I LOVE basketball.
To be clear, what made this unwatchable had nothing to do with the score. FSU lost. FSU deserved to lose. They were sloppy when they needed to have poise. They were soft when they needed to be strong. Minnesota won this game 71-61. There is that. That's a fact. Look it up.
The game began with five relatively clean minutes. Minnesota hit a couple threes to get the game going, and FSU battled back. It was 9-8 good guys with 14:26 to play in the half when Minnesota was whistled for a cheap foul. And for whatever reason, that became contagious. Over the next ~35 minutes there were 50 fouls called. 50. You do the math.
The players got so frustrated that the entire team on both sides typically exploded after every foul. There were phantom calls 40' from the basket, chased by players getting hammered at the rim with no call. These things came seconds apart and the came with regularity. At one point Coach Hamilton just buried his face in his hands. Minnesota's coach threw his jacket into the stands. Later on he threw his tie as well. With nothing left to throw he simply strangled himself. Okaro White got whistled for committing a foul against Ian Miller.
I wish I was making this up.
College basketball changed the rules this off-season, and now no one knows what they are. I've ignored this for the most part, assuming that the new rules will eventually develop their stated purpose of creating a more free-flowing game. It's been easy to ignore because my team hasn't really been affected. Sure it's been jumpy in spots, but I've accepted that. I've seen other teams go through what Minnesota and Florida State went through tonight, but it was okay, because it was someone else's team.
But not anymore. Now I had to sit still and watch with complete disgust a thing I love. FSU lost. Sure. That sucks. But there are bigger problems and college basketball needs to figure this shit out.