After losing to Duke 68-63 in the national championship game, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan criticised the referees for letting the game get too physical.
“There was more body contact in this game than any game we played in all year,” he told CBS in an on-camera interview after the trophy ceremony. “I just feel sorry for my guys that all of a sudden a game was like that.”
Here’s the full quote
CBS: “What was the difference down the stretch?”
Ryan: “Well I told these guys how proud I was of them and it’s just a situation where you just have to be able to handle all the hands and the checking. I mean all the body contact, there was more body contact in this game than any game we played in all year. I just feel sorry for my guys that all of a sudden a game was like that. They’re struggling with that a little bit. We missed some opportunities. They hit some tough shots. It’s just a shame that it had to be played that way.”
Later in the interview, Ryan made some indirect allusions to what he thought were bad calls.
“I think we set the record for offensive efficiency [this year]. It might not look that way the last 10 possessions tonight, but there might be some reasons for that,” he said.
“We led the Big 10 in defence, fewest turnovers, fewest fouls — until tonight.”
Wisconsin was called for 15 fouls while Duke was called for 13. Duke also shot 10 more free throws than the Badgers. On the other hand, Duke’s two best players — Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow — were in foul trouble all night. Okafor played just 22 minutes because of the fouls.
There was one big call with 1:53 left that went against Wisconsin. A loose ball looked to go off of Duke’s Justise Winslow, but even after looking at replay the refs ruled that they couldn’t tell if it went off Winslow’s finger and gave the ball to Duke:
Duke made a three-pointer on the next possession to go up eight points. If the refs would have given the ball to Wisconsin, they would have still been down five points with the ball with under two minutes left.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas said on ESPN after the game, “I wasn’t picking apart the officiating in this one. I don’t think officiating had anything to do with the winner or loser.”
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