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Thursday, March 29, 2007
Updated: March 30, 4:55 PM ET
Hey losers, no excuses

ESPN.com

Oregon foul call
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
Malik Hairston reacts to a foul call, and so did Oregon fans.

Pay attention Georgetown, Florida, UCLA and Ohio State. Three of you will go home without a title. As you prepare to be gracious losers, here's a list of the most common rationalizations from last week's conversations amongst despondent fans. Please avoid them.

It's no surprise that you'll react to a season-ending NCAA Tournament defeat with despair, disbelief, blame and excuses. We've all done it. But who really believes the referees, a CBS-NCAA conspiracy or a choking coach and players, not the other team, is the reason for their loss?

We reviewed almost 2,500 comments left by fans on Sweet 16 and Elite Eight game recaps and noted the most frequent and egregious excuses. Reader ffwcs724 summed up what we found:

Sweet 16
Georgetown 66, Vanderbilt 65
Break out your rule books. No game drew more officiating excuses. Fans excerpted the traveling rules from at least three different sources.

Everyone is now talking about the conspiracy theory, and I never bought it until yesterday. But after watching UNC-USC game, I got to believe it now. I have thought about all the games on which people made complaints, and I found a pattern that all bad calls that might have changed the results of games are all in favor of either No.1 seeded teams or storied programs like Gtown. Yesterday, the calls against Taj Gibson, which changed the entire game all of a sudden and made the coach Floyd mad at refs, are questionable as Doug Gottellb mentioned on ESPN. It is obvious that Vanderbilt was robbed of their victory. There were too many calls against SIU and the OVERRATED OHIO STATE should not be playing today. Now it is very obvious that either NCAA or CBS does not like upsets because it drops viewer rates. So far, offciating has worked in order to make matchups between top programs for the sake of viewers rating, because they dont want, for example, such less-known programs as Xavier, USC, SIU, and Vandervilt, to play at the elite Eight or semifinal games or to eliminate top programs. A UCLA fan, I am really sorry for fans who are disheartened for their program's defeat that they never deserve.........Indeed, money rules....
-- kiroroman

Ohio State 85, Tennessee 84
Yet another game "decided by the referees." Fans also volunteered that Bruce Pearl didn't make coaching adjustments as a 17-point halftime lead evaporated and suggested the team "totally blew it."

OSU is terrible, it really pains me to see them win with help from the Ref's. I love the fact that the fould calls jump in the 2nd half and just happen to lean OSU's way. I guess the NCAA wants someone from the Big Ten to be represented. Call bad coaching from Pearl or from Xavier's coach but if OSU ends up winning the tournament it will be a institutional tragedy for the NCAA. I am one who does not care for foul calls in the final seconds of a game but if you are going to call a foul on UT with 6 seconds then you MUST call a foul on the other end of the floor with so much at stake. No review , nothing. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C or maybe they just want to have a Florida vs. OSU in the championship game since OSU was so embarrassed in football. Maybe a new out of conference rivalry even though Florida handed it to OSU earlier this season who's to say.Nice Job Refs...Nice Job you ruined another game and let OSU slip one more step closer with their extremely overated center. It's funny they play better with out him. Future NBA flop Greg O.
-- ounvmeso

Memphis 65, Texas A&M 64
Aggies fans also dressed down the on-court officials.

I didn't know memphis' uniforms were black and white pin stripes.....
-- CWhite69316

Kansas 61, Southern Illinois 58
Salukis and their backers nipped at the refs' heels, or maybe, as one fan said, they were unlucky.

Southern Illinois
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
There's no shame in losing.

Just want to give props to my boys the zebras. What has already been a black eye of a tourney with the hideous officiating has now blown up into epic proportions. I never liked those conspiracy theorists out there with certain teams moving on but I apologize to all of you out there that I disagreed with. By rule Southern Illinois was robbed out of two baskets. Were not talking judgement calls here. Then the play later when SIU got the rebound when the ball obviously graced the rim on replay. For some reason the zebras didn't look at the replay and awarded KU with the ball. In the other game I can't believe that last foul call as people are battling for a rebound. That call hadn't been made all game and all of a sudden they call it. The Memphis player had an understandable smirk and then giggle from what he thought was game over to being awarded 2 foul shots. Then the clock error at the end. It goes by when the refs whistle goes off and based on that only .1 or .2 tops can come off the clock. They completely disregarded when that occured and made a monumental mistake taking 1.1 off. 1.1 can get you about 10 to 15 feet closer and a realistic chance. Apparently this tourney has been decided, can't wait to see has been selected to win next round by the zebra boys.
-- 182games

Florida 65, Butler 57
The Bulldogs didn't let go of without a fight or officiating complaints. It shouldn't have been the size, missed shots or a "fixed" game that sent them home.

cnewz, you did not see the game, did you. At least from a unbiased view. Butlers players were getting bumped off of spots that they are entitled to, if position is established. Just because the Butler "big" guys were smaller doesn't mean it is legal to push the guys off of their spots. I don't mind that they were bumping them, but what bothers me is that Butler kept getting called for fouls because they were smaller and being moved off of their spots. Neither team should have had fouls called when UF was posting up down low. UF big men should have been forced to make their shots instead of getting sent to the free throw line everytime THEY bumped Butler.
-- foxyjas

UCLA 64, Pittsburgh 55
Panthers fans quietly exited with minimal grumbling about Aaron Gray and shots not falling.

Pitt's loss had little to do with UCLA's D. I counted 12 to 14 missed shots from the 3 to 5 foot range that were simply just missed. There wasn't a defender actively altering those shots. UCLA should have won that game by 20 or 25 points. The fact that Pitt handed them the game and they only won by 9 tells me UCLA isn't leaving the elite 8 on a good note. Kansas will end their season.
-- swforemny

North Carolina 74, USC 64
Trojans fans were uncharacteristically calm. A handful of foam fingers were pointed at the refs, and one fan thought Tim Floyd should have coached better.

Hats off to Carolina for a good win, however I have officiated at the High School and College level for 9 years and I have never given a kid as important to his team Taj Gibson a (game stopper) for his 4th foul. What I mean by that is neither big guy was gaining any advantage in the flow of the game for the foul to be called. Tyler caught the ball and was about to score. As a result Gibson sits for 5 or 5 minutes and Carolina makes a big run and takes the lead. When he was in the game Carolina couldn't get an offensive put back inside, when he sat down on a (should have been no call ) the flood gates to the offensive boards opened up. Seems like GT and UNC will draw more ratings then the other way around.
-- fibaman

Oregon 76, UNLV 72
There was no rebelling against the final outcome, just a lonely comment about the difference shooting made.

Although I am biased being a UNLV fan, I really wasn't that impressed with Oregon. Sure Porter was lights out and had the game of his life, but the rest of their guards, Brooks and Taylor, didn't seem that explosive. If the Rebels hadn't shot so poorly at the beginning of the second half, the game probably would have ended different. Or, what if Porter would have only made 5 of 6 three-pointers??? Maybe all of this is just wishful thinking!!! Sorry Duck fans, you don't stand a chance against Florida!!!!!
-- jonesunlv

Elite Eight
Georgetown 96, North Carolina 84
Apparently Roy Williams' championship honeymoon is over. Coaching and officiating, including references to the Hoyas' win against Vanderbilt, dominated. Inventive Tar Heels fans also blamed Tyler Hansbrough, long TV timeouts, team youth, bad luck and underachievement. Not only did the better team not win but also UNC beat itself.

Seems to me Roy Williams is always a couple minutes too late on his time outs and can't seem to get any of his teams to execute down the stretch. His only NC team with UNC could run the half court but they weren't his recruits. Roy is a great recruiter, and I don't see even with respect to Georgetown's D that UNC, with Lawson and Hansborough, can go that cold for over so long. It is amazing and no doubt falls on the coach. This isn't the first game this year that UNC had a decent lead then lost to a team that toughened up and got the game close.
-- jklps

UCLA 68, Kansas 55
Jayhawks fans dug up plenty of wormy explanations, leading with, "We beat ourselves." Other attempts to wriggle out of the loss included having to play the Bruins in California, Bill Self's inadequate coaching, fatigue, the refs and bad luck.

UCLA's defense was pretty good but man KU blew it tonight. Dunks, layups, and free throws...I feel like vomiting. I can't say I'm happy we had to play in San Jose but we should have been able to overcome that and still win. Instead we completely blew it. Ugh. That wasn't even a game. I love KU and can't wait til next season but....I just don't know what to say. I had a feeling we'd lose tonight but in a close, hard-fought battle of a game. This was lame. UCLA is a good team but they aren't as good as we made them look tonight. Anyway, congrats Bruins. Enjoy the rest of the tournament and hopefully we'll see you guys again next year. I'd love to play you guys in Allen Fieldhouse. That would be something to see.
-- Copperhed51

Ohio State 92, Memphis 76
Tigers fans raked their blunted claws across the officiating and also took swipes at a weak Conference USA, John Calipari's coaching, a soft schedule and poor play.

Ohio State fans are living on borrowed time- or there are destined one or the other- overall you are over rated. AS with football the big ten is way over rated- only OSU makes the 16.Xavier had u beat if there coach had hal a brain- the final 3 point play never HAPPENS!!!!!!!!!!!They are fouled and go to the line to shoot 2 and the game is over.As far as TN, was a good game, but TN CHOKED. They stopped moving and did not get their shots- they tried to slow down and run the clock.Against MEMPHIS ghe key play is the intentional foul and 6 point swing at towards the end. Oden was fouled on the ground when it wasn't called - the memphis player continued his foul. The call was way tooooooooooo late and benefited OSU. He got a 4 point play and the ball back. ALSO MEMPHIS NEEDS to LEARN THAT SOMETIMES YOU GIVE UP THAT 2 POINTS IN EXCHANGE FOR NOT FOULING, SO YOU CAN KEEP PLAYING.I KNOW EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT THE georgetown travel against Vandy, but OSU players walk more than any other team. iT WAS CALLED DURING THE XAVIER GAME, BUT NOT SINCE. It is though the NCAA is allowing NBA rules. No 3 seconds, hand checking, travels, LOTS OF CONTACT WITH AND WITHOUT THE BALL- it is kind of sad. I have to agree with others that the NCAA seems to like the "Favored teams". NOW THEY HAVE THEIR FAVORITES HOPEFULLY THE OFFICIATING GETS BETTER.
-- STBAKER2000

Florida 85, Oregon 77
The Ducks made sure everyone knows they think the refs are quacks. Tajuan Porter's off night and Ernie Kent's coaching errors also clipped their wings.

With less 6 minutes to go Oregon has 4 players with 4 fouls. Comon silverhammer, you cannot be blind. All I am saying is call it both ways and you and I both know it's Oregon/UCLA III the thrilla in hotlanta!!! Why the Gators recieve "special" treatment from the networks and the zebras is unknown to me. I guess they are the new Duke. Yikes!!!
-- duckboy1013

Of course, maybe you shouldn't be a gracious loser at all. Maybe it's your right -- even your obligation -- to complain.

Do you have a better excuse? Join the conversation below.