Francesa: Refs Ruined NCAA Championship Game

After escaping the cusp of defeat three times this tournament, North Carolina (33-7) stared down a seven-point hole late in the first half.

Whether you're Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and IN or Mount St. Mary's, Texas Southern, Troy and Radford, you've got to get through Duke and Carolina to be the best.

Check out how some National Basketball Association players and fans around the world reacted to the way the refs officiated last night's NCAA Championship game. "I'm sitting over there, I'm not thinking the officials are doing a awful job", North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.

"Coach Rob just said, 'remember that moment and how we felt past year". I told him, 'We're about to take this thing.

"I wasn't going to miss this chance with these guys", Hicks said. Or, for that matter, if his team will even be invited.

Despite the win, the Tar Heels was struggling in making their shots only shooting 35% in field goals and was 4-27 in 3-point range.

Once Jackson finished off with the dunk, Pinson knew the game was over. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted an ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead. The run started with leading-scorer Jackson's 3-point play, giving North Carolina the lead for the final time with just 1:40 left on the clock.

He now trails only John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp on the all-time list.

"I think that was just a youngster willing the ball in the hole", Williams said. "But let me think on it". "I knew I had a great group of guys here". Overall, the Tar Heels actually shot a percentage point worse than they did in Saturday night's win over Oregon.

"And on top of that, these three clowns - and that's what they were last night - blew call after call at the end of the game", he said.

The game "featured" 52 free throws. Both teams were in the bonus. Both teams were in the bonus with 14 minutes left in the second half, a half where there were 23 fouls called in the first 15 minutes and every big man on the floor played their way into foul trouble. But instead, the official called for a jump ball. But as Karnowski was flailing after the ball, he inadvertently grabbed Berry around the neck.

Asked what he would remember from the game, Karnowski said, "That I missed a lot of layups". And it's just not an easy game to ref.

Up one, the Tar Heels were one pivotal play from redemption. "That's tough to hear".

At Gonzaga - a program on fantastic footing thanks to two decades' worth of building led by Few - they'll regroup and reload and try to finish the deal next year. Twenty years ago, this sort of run at that sort of place looked virtually impossible.

They often looked clueless in general, and so did Gonzaga, along with the referees who had a love affair all night with their whistles.

Williams said it was "very difficult" game to call.

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks had missed 15 of the first 17 shots that he took in the Final Four.

Few and Williams spent much of this past week telling tales about how much they enjoy each other's company. "I really don't. But I know one thing, we're putting up a nice banner in the Smith Center (North Carolina's home arena) that's hard to get".

  • Julie Sanders