Syracuse almost became the first No. 1 seed ever to lose to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they avoided the upset thanks to some help from the referees.
Aside from a controversial goaltending call, the refs called a lane violation on UNC Asheville following Scoop Jardine’s miss on the first of a one-and-one. Because of the violation, Jardine got to attempt his free throw again and made both, turning a four-point game into a six-point lead 64-58 lead for Syracuse with a minute and a half left in the game. While the call was technically correct (a player not on a legal lane space cannot cross the free throw line until the ball hits the rim), it was a petty call that is hardly made.
Additionally, a ball went out of bounds off Syracuse in the final minute, but it was called off Asheville. Asheville was down by three points when the blown call occurred:
It’s hard enough for a 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed, but it’s even more difficult when the refs are hurting you with bad calls.
UPDATE: The referee in question, Ed Corbett, is a Big East ref who frequently officiates Syracuse games.
Screencap via SB NationGoogle+