Let’s be clear, even if the play was not whistled a flagrant foul on Desi Rodriguez, Arkansas still had a 3-point lead once Jaylen Barford hit his free throws. Of course, to be fair, it did change the play Seton Hall would have run if it would have been a one-possession game with a chance to tie it.
Anyway, it’s still a controversial play, so NCAA Nation Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating, J.D. Collins went on television and explained the play.
NCAA National Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officiating J.D. Collins explains the flagrant foul call at the end of the Arkansas game. pic.twitter.com/2nJvy6XGmu— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 17, 2017
Here’s the key statement in the video from Collins: “The rule is Rule 4 Section 15 Article 2c2 - contact that is not an attempt to play the ball or player, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from running. And when a player puts two hands on the back and doesn’t make any attempt to play the ball or the player, get in front of him, it’s an F1 foul”
There you have it. Feel free to refer anyone who says it wasn’t a flagrant foul here to your objective and unbiased friends at Arkansas Fight.
It is the textbook definition of a flagrant foul, although I admit I’d be livid if it was called that way against Arkansas. If there’s no trip and Barford stays upright, I don’t think they rule it a flagrant, but the trip made the play look more dramatic. At the end of games, those types of intentional fouls are routine. It’s one of those spirit of the law vs letter of the law things. By letter of the rule, it was a flagrant foul. By spirit of the rule, eeehhhhhh? How else do you intentionally foul in that situation? Certainly not by swiping at the ball.
But I’ll take it. And again, Arkansas still had a great advantage even without the call.