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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The Hype: Raise the (red) flag

By Myron Medcalf

Can you feel it?

The Hype Machine can. The pre-Selection Sunday buzz is growing. Every game matters. Every loss hurts.

That's why so many folks were outraged when an official missed a call at the end of a crucial game. Too bad the ref couldn't go to the monitors. The NFL might know how to fix that.

And one Big Ten veteran should just retire now. He's pretty good, but he could make a fortune teaching other players to compete with his brand of tenacity.

Plus, a coach that fans call "The Mayor" might deserve some votes for a national honor.

The Past: College basketball needs a red flag


The missed goaltending call in the closing seconds of Syracuse's win over West Virginia stunk for everybody involved. Players, coaches and fans suffered after officials failed to blow the whistle on Baye Keita's overt goaltending violation on a shot by Deniz Kilicli.

Bob Huggins
Bob Huggins could have used a red flag after the officials' non-call in the final seconds against Syracuse.

The no-call, per NCAA rules banning the use of replay on judgment calls like goaltending, was not reviewable. It's easy to look at that play and demand the unlimited use of replay. But I don't think that's the right call. The game doesn't need endless interruptions as coaches request more reviews. Officials -- like players and coaches -- will make mistakes.

But the unfiltered expansion of replay could cause more harm than good. Plus, I appreciate the human element of the game.

While missed calls cause frustration for those who are adversely affected by them, most of the time the rights calls are made. Giving officials more reasons to go to the monitors and coaches more freedom to request reviews will only slow the game and ultimately prove problematic.

But there is a solution that might help all parties. And it involves a red flag.

Coaches should have the right to challenge any call -- even a judgment call -- two times per game, just like their NFL counterparts.

I think the move would squash some of the late-game controversy we've already witnessed this season. And it would add more excitement to the game, too.

Doubt a foul call? Throw the flag. Question a missed goaltending call? Throw the flag.

That option could have helped Bob Huggins' program avoid Saturday's drama.

The Present: The country's big men could learn a lot from Draymond Green


This season's premier big men certainly possess talent. But some of the nation's best frontcourt athletes lack the edginess and toughness that's defined some of college basketball's greatest inside players.

Draymond Green
Other players could learn a lot from Draymond Green's toughness.

And then, there's Draymond Green.

The Spartans senior injured a knee in his team's 42-41 loss Tuesday at Illinois. Team officials said he'd be evaluated Wednesday morning.

I'm watching the game and there's Green, grimacing in pain on the sideline but refusing to leave his guys. He's hopping around on one leg just to join his teammates during timeouts.

Before his knee betrayed him, Green made a go-ahead layup with 5:04 to play. After he left the floor with the knee injury, it was clear that the Spartans were a different team.

Green is not a true big man. He likes to take jump shots. And he's comfortable as a distributor. But when he's inside, he's one of the most physically imposing characters in the country.

He challenges defenders. He's rough on a defense.

His edge and attitude have helped the Spartans rise toward the top of the Big Ten standings.

He's listed at 6-foot-7 but plays much bigger. And he's not afraid of anyone.

I wanted to send footage from Tuesday's sloppy game to a multitude of teams that are desperate for some of his toughness. They could all learn a lot from watching Green compete. Hopefully, the knee injury won't prevent Green from playing in the coming weeks.

The Future: Fred Hoiberg should be in the conversation for national coach of the year.


It's still early. But Iowa State's back-to-back wins over Kansas (Saturday) and Kansas State (Tuesday) should thrust Hoiberg into the discussion. Not alone but in conjunction with everything he's accomplished with this squad.

The Cyclones could tank the rest of the way for all we know. But right now, they're playing some of the best basketball in the Big 12.

Fred Hoiberg
Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg deserves credit for the Cyclones' success.

Their coach deserves credit for the program's success.

Hoiberg signed players who didn't work out at other schools. Chris Babb, Chris Allen and Royce White had not played organized basketball in more than a year when they commenced for the 2011-12 season.

The Cyclones don't use a true center or point guard. Yet they're 6-3 in the Big 12 and playing like an NCAA tournament team. Hoiberg entered the collegiate coaching ranks last season after working in the Minnesota Timberwolves' front office following his stint in the NBA. His decision to go after transfers with "red flags" seemed reckless. But it appears that Hoiberg knew exactly what he was getting himself into.

And if this success persists for Hoiberg's program, the former Iowa State star will soon hear his name mentioned among the national-coach-of-the-year candidates. Iowa State's storyline is one of the best in the country.

But the Cyclones also have a notable coach who's found a way to blend new talent with returning players in just his second season as a Division I head coach.

That's enough to add Hoiberg to preliminary national-coach-of-the-year discussions.

The Hoopla: The Pac-12 will prove us all wrong and send multiple teams to the Big Dance (DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE) … Wichita State's triple-overtime loss at Drake offered more proof that the Missouri Valley Conference is dangerous (BELIEVE THE HYPE) … Kentucky still has a lot to prove with the toughest portion of its SEC slate unfolding in the coming weeks (BELIEVE THE HYPE) … Saint Mary's will finally dethrone Gonzaga in the WCC (BELIEVE THE HYPE) … Murray State will suffer its first lost during its BracketBusters matchup with the Gaels (DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE).

Myron Medcalf covers college basketball for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @MedcalfbyESPN.