College Basketball / Men

Scores | Standings | Polls |   Blogs: Cavs | Hokies | Mids | Terps | The 68

NCAA fails to keep up with matters of the clock

In this Friday March 11, 2011 photo, referees check a monitor to rule on a last second shot in the second half of Virginia Tech's 52-51 win over Florida State in an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. It's an odd situation that caught plenty of prominent coaches off guard when told this week that game clocks in the tournament are not linked to a well-known device known as Precision Time Systems, which was invented nearly two decades ago by former NBA and college referee Michael Costabile.(AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)
In this Friday March 11, 2011 photo, referees check a monitor to rule on a last second shot in the second half of Virginia Tech's 52-51 win over Florida State in an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. It's an odd situation that caught plenty of prominent coaches off guard when told this week that game clocks in the tournament are not linked to a well-known device known as Precision Time Systems, which was invented nearly two decades ago by former NBA and college referee Michael Costabile.(AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File) (Bob Leverone - AP)
  Enlarge Photo    

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
By PAUL NEWBERRY
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 3:19 PM

-- This was a familiar scene during the first week of the NCAA tournament: Officials huddled around the scorer's table, looking over replays to determine just how much time should be on the clock.

So unnecessary.

The NCAA - unlike the NBA, the Olympics, all major conferences and even some high schools - doesn't use an automatic timing system for its signature event.

It's an odd situation that caught plenty of prominent coaches off guard when told this week that game clocks in the men's and women's tournaments are not linked to a well-known device known as Precision Time Systems, which was invented nearly two decades ago by former NBA and college referee Michael Costabile.

"To be honest with you, I didn't even realize that they weren't using it during the tournament," said North Carolina's Roy Williams, whose Tar Heels were involved in the most prominent of several timing issues during the first week of March Madness.

Thad Matta, coach of overall top seed Ohio State, was even more confused.

"We use it in the Big Ten, so I'm good with it," he said Tuesday. "Matter of fact, when we talked about it in the Big Ten meetings, we said, 'Let's do what they do in the NCAA tournament.'"

Actually, the automatic system is widely used during the preseason, regular season and conference tournaments, but ignored by the NCAA for the biggest games of the year.

In a sense, it's like using a modern timing system to determine how fast Usain Bolt runs or Michael Phelps swims until they get to the Olympics, then breaking out the stopwatches to figure out who gets the gold medal.

"This is 2011," said Nelson Keller, who runs the clock merely as a backup for women's games at North Carolina and the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. "It's crazy not to use the technology that's available."

That was never more apparent than last week when several games went down to the wire with the clock being kept by a timekeeper sitting courtside instead of being linked to Costabile's system, which shuts it down automatically when an official blows the whistle.

The most disputed game was North Carolina's 86-83 victory over Washington. The ball went out of bounds off a Tar Heels player with a half-second showing on the clock. Replays showed the ball went out of bounds with at least 1.1 seconds to go.


CONTINUED     1        >

More in the Sports Section

Terps

Terrapins Insider

Get the latest updates on Maryland basketball and football.

Recruiting Insider

Recruiting Insider

Josh Barr keeps you in the loop on the local and national prep talent.

Bog

D.C. Sports Bog

Dan Steinberg gives you an inside look at all of your favorite local teams.

© 2011 The Associated Press

Network News

X My Profile