Long ago, some of us like to think, facts used to be facts.
Not so much in today’s world. A significant number of Americans have differing opinions about what entails reality and the meaning of the word “fact” itself.
Looks like there’s a sizable subset of Kentucky Wildcats in this group.
That was never more obvious than in the aftermath of Arkansas’ recent heart-pounding 81-80 win at Rupp Arena. Guard Jalen Tate iced the game on two free throws after a clutch rebound off an errant Devo Davis runner in the waning seconds.
An alternative narrative of what, exactly, happened during that rebound has taken hold of some within Big Blue Nation.
Kentucky forward Brandon Boston, who has fallen behind Moses Moody in NBA Draft mocks, shared his own unedited thoughts in the post-game presser: “I honestly think it wasn’t a foul,” Boston said. “I think the refs gave them that game, that’s all I can say.”
Perhaps Boston didn’t have a good view of the play from his vantage point on the court, or maybe by the time he sat down the media he’d already gotten messages from friends and family who had seen the game on ESPN and heard its broadcasters (including former Arkansas coach Jimmy Dykes) openly doubt whether Tate had been fouled.
Boston wasn’t alone in his interpretation.
One of our SB brethren over at Sea of Blue, Kentucky’s team site, wrote: “Making matters even worse was the ‘foul’ called on Jacob Toppin after Kentucky had taken an 80-79 lead in the final seconds. It appeared he got all ball, but the foul was called as Jalen Tate hit two free throws to win the game.”
I get it.
The game of basketball is fast-moving, and observers can’t possibly see everything in real time.
Fortunately, we have cameras. And those cameras conclusively put to rest the question of whether Kentucky was cheated out of a win.
The pictorial evidence is clear: Tate was fouled not once but twice on the play. If anything, he deserved four free throws from the roughing up he received.
First foul, courtesy of Olivier Sarr:
Was Sarr just laying hands on Tate to pray for him??? Or?????? pic.twitter.com/x0wOZL37ff— Ben Brandon (@BenBrandonHoops) February 10, 2021
Second blazingly obvious foul, courtesy of Jacob Toppin:
Voila, case closed.
It’s OK to be sore, Brandon Boston. Lord knows as Arkansas fans we’ve been there, too. But before you publicly complain, try to get the facts straight.
Arkansas Basketball Looking Forward
The Razorbacks have risen to No. 2 in the SEC, although Vegas doesn’t yet reflect that standing. Arkansas’ conference title odds are currently the sixth-highest, behind Bama, LSU, Tennessee, Florida and Missouri.
While beating Missouri on Saturday would be huge in terms of seeding, it almost certainly won’t affect whether the Hogs make the NCAA Tournament or not.
That’s because Arkansas has managed to take care of business against the teams it was supposed to beat, while losing only to teams that are NCAA Tournament-bound. To go dancing, Arkansas just needs to keep beating the bottom feeders and notch a home win against at least one of the three good teams (Florida, Alabama and LSU) that will soon visit Fayetteville, says college basketball analyst Aaron Torres.
Hog fans shouldn’t worry that their non-conference schedule was softer than Charmin, either.
“I think it’s important to remember, nobody outside of maybe Gonzaga really has a great out of conference resume right now,” Torres said on the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast. “And so I know some Arkansas fans are saying ‘We need more quality wins, we need more both.’”
“No, you just need to keep winning the games that you have. And yes, down the stretch, you have a couple of marquee games. Those are games that you would like to win to enhance your resume, move up the seed line. But if you just take care of the teams you’re supposed to, you’re going to be fine.”
Speaking to Hog fans, he continued: “You have zero bad losses on your resume right now. On top of that, it’s a year where you will not be penalized for not scheduling [elite] out of conference teams in the way that you normally would be.”
Check out Torres’ complete breakdown of Arkansas basketball starting at 2:50 here:
Read more about this situation in my post here: “Kentucky Star Opts Out of Sportsmanship After Blaming Refs for Arkansas Loss”