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Remember Aaron Craft, but don’t forget about the “charge” he drew

Mar 24, 2013, 3:14 PM EDT

Iowa State v Ohio State Getty Images
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Aaron Craft’s shot may be the defining moment of the NCAA tournament so far that wasn’t an alley-oop that sparked a rap video.

He’s a kid whose entire legacy is built on the fact that he’s a “winner” that played like garbage down the stretch — two turnovers, 2-5 free throws including two missed front-ends — only to redeem himself by hitting a game-winning three with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. And after hitting the three, he doesn’t run around screaming like a maniac. He holds his pose until the shot goes down, and then he tries to get his team prepared to play defense until a timeout is called.

Even if you hate Aaron Craft — and there are plenty of people that do — you have to, at the very least, respect what he did on Sunday afternoon.

But here’s the thing: it never should have gotten to that point.

Because the winner got a call that winners get.

With 1:15 left on the clock and iowa State up 75-74, Craft slid over on defense and drew a charge on Will Clyburn. It will look like a great play in the scorebook, but it wasn’t. Craft was late and slid under Clyburn while he was in the air. It should have been a block and an and-1. Clyburn should have had a chance to put the Cyclones up 78-74, in a great position to close out a game in which they used a thrilling, 13-0 run in a 2:11 span late in the second half to tie the game at 69.

Instead, arguably the most entertaining team in the tournament is heading home with a 78-75 loss to the Buckeyes.

This may be the most notable blown charge call in this year’s tournament, but it certainly isn’t the first. It’s an epidemic, really. Referees, who are now forced to focus on when a defender has their feet and whether or not they are outside the charge circle, are missing more and more calls under the basket. The Flagrant 1 elbow rule needs to be the first thing addressed by the rules committee this offseason, as that’s easily the worst rule in college basketball. But the referees need to get together and figure out how to start calling charges and blocks correctly.

Because it just cost Iowa State a berth in the Sweet 16.

Now, here’s the interesting question for the Cyclones: how long does Fred Hoiberg hang around?

He’s an Ames native and an Iowa State graduate. His nickname is ‘The Mayor’, and that refers to his time in the city he’s currently coaching in. But he’s losing five seniors and arguably his four best players this offseason. How set is he on remaining the Cyclone head coach?

Because I can think of a couple Pac-12 schools that would be interested in a guy that turned Iowa State into a relevant program this quickly. Hoiberg’s no a west coast guy, but he is a good talent evaluator and there are recruiters on his staff with west coast ties.

Just another name to toss into the rumor mill.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. mtheparrothead - Mar 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I love how the commenters stated it was a brilliant move as his heel never touched the line. Well if crafts on his tippy toe, how can he be planted?

  2. buckeyeluvn - Mar 24, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    This is a simple one. As my old high school coach used to say,”the game shouldn’t be argued over 1 or 2 plays.” “The teams should have played better through out so it wouldn’t have to come down to just 1or 2 calls.”

  3. heyblueyoustink - Mar 24, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Sour grapes, and I’m not even a fan of the buckeyes. If you deserve to go to the next round, you never leave the game in the refs hands in the first place.

    Oldest adage in sports.

    • dnc6 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      So what about the buckeyes, who needed a huge break from the refs to move on? They didnt leave it in the refs hands?

  4. jrs45 - Mar 24, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    That Aaron Craft kid is unreal! Been awhile since I’ve seen someone with so many jaw dropping plays!

  5. taintedlombardis - Mar 24, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    The out of bounds call was also wrong. Barkley agrees. Refs took over. Can’t have too many Cinderellas’….

  6. taintedlombardis - Mar 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    When it’s a close game, the refs can most certainly determine the winner. Everythiing counts in the closing moments of a game. What a debacle. Loved how they trotted out the NCAA talking head for damage control on CBS.

  7. packhawk04 - Mar 24, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Tough call for ISU. No way it was a charge. Great shot by craft though, hes a hell of a player. Now, if he could just play ball the whole game instead of worrying about the refs for half of it, he could be even better.

  8. jrs45 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Seems like Craft doesn’t worry about anything out on the court. Saw he went a 100 straight minutes without causing a foul till last game. The kid is fun to watch.

  9. nickwillis99 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Craft a fighter. As an IU fan I hate him because he always seems to make those shots and is the Big Ten steals king. Annoying as an opponent. This article doesn’t sound like a professional wrote it- it sounds like some bitter fan in a sports bar shooting his mouth off

    • scoocha - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      That’s what made the article good – he’s not trying to massage the feelings of OSU fans. OSU got the calls they needed at the end, they shouldn’t have won but it’s over and the NCAA got what they wanted. And OSU basically gets a bye to the Final Four by beating a 15, 10 (struggled and it wasn’t even a 7 seed), 6, and most likely a 12 seed. What an arduous road to Atlanta!

      Great job, Rob.

      • barkleyblows - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM

        And what about all the other bad calls that went against Ohio State in that game?? Did you even watch the game?? Let’s stop acting like crybabies and start being fair. Looked like a good call on the replay… since his foot wasn’t even in the cylinder. Crybabies

    • bigmeechy74 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Bitter? Iowa St got blatantly ripped off. If Indiana ever got screwed like that (won’t happen thought so you have nothing to worry about) I bet you would want the writer to acknowledge it. Easy for you to say. Iowa st just lost 4 seniors from a really tough team that DESERVED to win today.

      • scoocha - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:49 AM

        To Barkley – can you please stop listening to Greg and Kenny in the studio and for that matter ESPN? Please pick up a rule book; I’m not even bringing up the cylinder, once a player has left the ground a defender cannot simply slide under him to take a charge. We learned that in 3rd grade. Now enjoy your trip to Final Four in possibly the easiest bracket ever.

  10. scoocha - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Hell of a player? Did you see the same game? If the refs had made the correct calls down the stretch he would have the goat. He’s only considered to be “heady”, a “leader”, and “scrappy” because he’s an undersized white guy. If he were black, he would be considered quick but sloppy. I’ve been hearing this all tournament. Another example is Guido Giusti from St. Mary’s. I get it, he’s a walk-on, that’s awesome. Regardless, he’s still not a good player as every one he defended just drove right by him.
    Outside chance that OSU comes back down 4 with 75 seconds left. Typical OSU game – refs handing it to them on a silver platter. We learn this type of block call in 3rd grade, regardless of where his feet were. Also, makes sense that OSU was placed in the easiest bracket since they won the Big Ten regular season title, oh wait…

    • avermaver - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      he does get more press because he’s white, but I’d argue his style is unique regardless. He plays like a quarterback, not the way most guards play anymore

    • avermaver - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      Craft did make a lot of mistakes down the stretch but credit him for keeping his head up and making the shot. I don’t know why anyone would hate Craft, he’s just a deliberate tenacious player. He does tend to dominate his team’s offense to the point that too much is put on his shoulders. But that’s how the team is set up.

  11. jrs45 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Regardless of race I love watching Craft play. I’ll agree his offensive game is a little weak. But I’d put my money on him going toe-to-toe with any pg in the nation defensively.

    • bigmeechy74 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      Why are you bringing up race

    • bigmeechy74 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Oh I didn’t see that the guy above you was the one that initially brought it up. I apologize

  12. eagles512 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    How did Kellogg watch the replay 4 times and still say it was a charge?

  13. yuckygeo - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    “Even if you hate Aaron Craft — and there are plenty of people that do…”

    Who, exactly, hates Aaron Craft?

    • bigmeechy74 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      That’s like saying “who exactly hated wojo?”

    • scoocha - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      I do. I did last year and before this game. So there’s 1, I doubt there are many others.

  14. kfiz14 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Bucks win. End of story.

    • scoocha - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:51 AM

      Cheat to win. Win at all costs the Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel way. The ends justify the means I guess.

  15. barkleyblows - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Bout time Craft had a call go his way in that game. It’s like these refs never saw someone who could play defense before. Keep crying losers.

  16. noexcuseseva - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    I can’t even guess how many games I have watched in my life in a variety of different sports. Having said that, I thought we all understood that the outcome of a game can never be determined by any one play. That game, like any game, can be scrutinized from start to finish with every call being second guessed and then trying to figure out how the outcome could have been different. Like others have said…sounds like sour grapes. Great game though and clearly Craft gets more out if his talents than any other player in this tournament if not college basketball. He is a stud defender who has shut down 2 of the 4 finalists (Burke & Oladipo) and has lead his team to the numerous conference regular season and tourney titles and deep NCAA tourney runs 3 years in a row…add it all up and he is a player. People just don’t like him because he’s not a prolific scorer and is white.

  17. kfiz14 - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Iowa State deserves to go home and pout. Trash team.

  18. budweisergoddammit - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Or maybe ISU could have not fallen behind by 13 points, hit the front end of two 1and1s, and grabbed a defensive board in the last 30 seconds. But it was all the fault of the refs…..

    • scoocha - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:53 AM

      The main point is being missed, if it wasn’t the charge call or the out of bounds call it would have been something else. The NCAA is not going to knock OSU out in Round of 32, plain and simple.

  19. 11thstreetmafia - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    It doesn’t matter whether or not his heel was on the line, people. He was WAY late. You have to give a guy a step.

  20. gopherz - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    ohio st. better to be LUCKY than GOOD??

  21. budweisergoddammit - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Yeah, the reason the tourney is so popular is that the top
    Seeds always win (cough Georgetown, gonzaga, cough)….

  22. akirchstein - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    This is why they should have to review all calls once you get under 5 minutes. Ohio State has been on the different side of this call many times in Big Ten games. Sometimes it goes your way and other times it does not. The only reason this is still being talked about is because Charles Barkely has made such a big deal about the call because he is not a fan of Aaron Craft or the Big Ten teams.

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