Jim Boeheim is taking a lot of heat nationally for the outburst that got the veteran coach the double-technical heave-ho last Saturday night at the end of Syracuse’s loss to Duke.
USA Today headlined the moment as “Boeheim loses his mind at referees.”
The site deadspin.com said Boeheim “Goes Nuts After Bad Call” and called him “out-of-control, berserk.”
On and on the ESPN Radio hosts went about that half-minute eruption.
The game wasn’t over after that charge call taking away C.J. Fair’s bucket that would have tied the game with 10.4 seconds left. Duke was having a bad night at the free-throw line. Syracuse could have fouled a Blue Devil who could have missed one of two free throws and the Orange could have hit a three to tie the game.
The Duke free throws after the technical effectively ended the game.
Well, sure. But that’s a couple of pretty big could-have’s.
Was it the best move I’ve ever seen Boeheim make in my 31 years of closely following Syracuse basketball?
Of course not.
But at the time it happened Saturday night, I did not blame him one bit.
I thought it was a block against the Duke defender instead of a charge, too.
While flapping my arms and squawking pretty good in my loving room, here’s what I saw in the immediate aftermath.
I saw Jim Boeheim run onto the court, rip off his suit jacket, and unleash obvious profanities at the official who made the call in question.
Here’s what I did not see.
I did not see Jim Boeheim touch an official. I did not see him pick up a chair and throw it. I did not see his rant escalate to something worse after he was ejected from the game.
On Wednesday, Boeheim went on ESPN radio to admit that he went too far with his reaction to the call.
He explained that it was in the scorching heat of a very significant moment of an important game.
I don’t think he need have apologized.
I liked his passion. I liked the way he stood up for his player.
I very much liked the way Jim Boeheim, at 69 years old in this extremely successful first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference for his beloved Orange, showed the world how important a basketball game still is to him.
The tradition has been established. The Syracuse-Duke game will firmly be in the national spotlight whenever, wherever.
It could be again this season, in the ACC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, and somebody would win the bragging rights. For this season, anyway.
Do you think a major college coach should never lose his cool and yell at an official?
To see the YouTube clip of the play and the fury, click here.