(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)After losing to Duke, 68-63, in the NCAA men's basketball national championship game, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan criticized 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 season, he said. "It might not look that way the last 10 possessions tonight, but there might be some reasons for that.
"We led the Big Ten in defense, 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.
One big call with 1:53 left went against Wisconsin. A loose ball looked to go out of bounds off of Winslow, but the referees ruled that the replay was not clear enough to overturn the call, giving the ball to Duke:
Duke made a 3-pointer on the next possession to go up eight points. If the referees would have given the ball to Wisconsin, the Badgers would have been down five points with the ball with under two minutes left.
In his news conference after the CBS interview, Ryan was more reserved in his criticism. Here's what he said when asked whether he had an issue with the officiating (via ASAP Sports):
Have you ever watched me during a game? I don't think this was any different. No, we have these things that we practice, OK? We practice in our practices where if an offensive player jumps into you, we always call it on the offensive player. It's just what we do. So there were some situations where obviously our guys felt they were in position. I'm sure they felt they were in the rights. Both teams are always going to feel that there's a question or two. So it's just the way the game's played. But I've been with these guys a long time, and I've watched a lot of basketball. Sometimes games are played differently, and you have to go with the flow.
It sounds as if Ryan wanted more charge calls on Duke.
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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