It might be little consolation for Michigan State now, but Ed Steitz, editor and interpreter of the NCAA basketball rules, said this morning the clock malfunction that might have affected last weekend's Kansas-Michigan State Midwest regional semifinal game was a "correctable error."
It was the first time an official connected with the NCAA has publicly said that Michigan State was done an injustice. "The decision that was effected was incorrect," Steitz said at a morning news conference.
When the clock malfunctioned for 15 seconds in Kemper Arena Friday night, NCAA officials said it was not a correctable error. Kansas wound up tying the game with 10 seconds left and winning in overtime.
Steitz read the rule he wrote in 1967 and said officials could have used the 45-second shot clock (which was functioning correctly) or the play-by-play sheet to subtract the proper number of seconds from the scoreboard clock.
The NCAA does not allow the use of television replay to clarify or change a call. Georgetown Coach John Thompson today said television replay should be used in certain instances, and Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim agreed.
"After that travesty, to literally take a game away from a team, we certainly should be using television," Boeheim said.
Still, there is no appeal process or any way to correct a mathematical error once the officials have left the court, Steitz said.
Thompson, after saying he was "very envious, very jealous and all those other unfashionable feelings" about not being in the Final Four, said he thought Louisville would win the championship.
Wil Jones, coach of the University of the District of Columbia, said he thinks Louisville will be playing in the final Monday, but that Duke will win. "It's a tossup," Jones said. "But I'm pulling for all those Washington, D.C., kids just like I was three years ago when North Carolina State played."
Boeheim's prediction: "Duke -- they're a good example of what basketball is supposed to be."
Boeheim said Pitt will be vastly improved next season under former Navy coach Paul Evans. "Psychologically, they'll have to be better," he said. "Even if Mickey Mouse coached that team next year they'd be better, because outgoing coach Roy Chipman was knocked so much, I think the players started to believe it."
Boeheim also said his all-America point guard, Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, hasn't made up his mind about whether to return for his senior year or turn pro now. "People are telling him he'll make $500,000 a year for four years," Boeheim said. "But I told him I don't know about that. Johnny Dawkins and Dell Curry are two more really good guards.
"I hope I'm not being just selfish about this, but I told him if he waits until next year, he'll clearly be the best guard coming out of college. But right now, he's confused and just doesn't know."