Did Cody Zeller and Derrick Nix exchange groin shots, or did they fake reactions?
Derrick Nix was scolded by ESPN announcer Dick Vitale for an “immature action” he supposedly committed against Cody Zeller during Indiana’s 72-68 win over Michigan State Tuesday, but video replays suggest Zeller may have been at fault.
Before we get into the play that resulted in a reaction from Vitale, let’s start with the play that set things up. Matters appeared to start when Zeller received a pass in the low post and may have caught Nix in the groin with an elbow while spinning around him for a layup:
Then with about two minutes left in the game, Zeller and Nix were fighting for position down low when Zeller went down after appearing to get punched in the groin. The video shows that Zeller may have pulled Nix’s arm into his body and then flopped in an attempt to draw a call:
Zeller’s reaction led referees to review the play, and they did not call a foul on Nix, possibly because they saw Zeller’s grab. Meanwhile, Vitale lit into Nix for the alleged infraction.
“There’s no doubt about it. He catches him with the elbow. See that, Magic?” Vitale said to Magic Johnson, who was also commentating.
“There’s no place for that. No place for that in basketball. Play the game, play with good sportsmanship, play the game. Don’t ruin it because of some stupidity, and some immature action.”
It turns out that Nix may not have done anything wrong, which could explain why Zeller was so forgiving after the game.
“Just two competitors going at it. It’s the Big Ten. Nothing,” Zeller said after the game regarding his interactions with Nix, per MLive.com.
Michigan State was leading 66-63 at the time when Zeller appeared to fake being hit in the groin, so it’s possible he was looking for any trick to help his Hoosiers. His actions may have worked.