This Week In Hoops: February 15

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to basketball season. If you were around these parts last year, you remember our weekly feature: This Week in Hoops. It’s changed a bit, but the essence is the same. If you’re new to Palestra Back, TWIH is a helpful guide to the recent goings on in the world of basketball. If something happens on the hardwood, you’ll hear about it here. 

The Biggest Story in Basketball

Duke guard Grayson Allen beat the buzzer with a little floater to top highly ranked Virginia yesterday.

…or did he?

I mean, his shot did beat the buzzer, but there was a lot going on with his feet. Watching live, I couldn’t believe the officials missed him travelling. Upon an embarrassing number of views of the replay, he not only takes three steps before the act of shooting, but lands back on the ground before releasing the ball.

via SBNation
via SBNation

The controversy and reaction to this play has been two-fold.

First, any three refs capable of doing this game should see at least one of those calls. This was not one toe out of place. He takes four steps before the ball leaves his finger tips. Watching it in real time, it’s obvious. Watching in slow motion, its almost laughable. It’s not a call that should be missed. Some (Duke fans) have argued that Marial Shayock fouled Allen. I don’t think he did, but I’d rather a foul be called than nothing. At least that is a judgment call. This was a yes or no that three ACC officials flat-out missed.

But somehow, this was not the biggest problem. The narrative on Twitter and in the media shifted in the moments and hours following the game.

Three refs missing a call that affects an important game is a bad look. Virginia’s chances at a number one seed took a hit because of this missed call.

But a systemic issue of officials afraid to make a call in the closing seconds of the game is far worse. People who talk about refs “swallowing the whistles” on a game deciding possession will always talk about letting the players on the court win or lose the game. In most cases, that means not calling a ticky-tack foul. In this case, the players did decide. Shayock forced Allen into a turnover, but he got away with it. If he did so because of the pressure of reffing in Cameron or in a game of this magnitude, the refs on the court for the game should be held accountable. Officials will always represent a human element of the game, but injecting bias or emotion into their role is worse than simply making mistakes.

Nothing will likely happen to these refs. Nothing ever does. NCAA officiating is a mess. The supposed experts of the game asked for rule changes and they continue to demand more, though so many of college basketball’s issues could be alleviated by more consistent refereeing. Officials, right now, are essentially independent contractors. They work as many games in a week as they want. They travel from time zone to time zone, conference to conference, with little to no evaluation affecting their stature or position. NBA refs, for whatever flaws they have, are held accountable. Their performance is graded, rated, published, and used to determine their fate.

Until the NCAA formalizes their officials and provides a higher level of scrutiny, we’ll continue see problems, from missed calls to the more serious systemic tendencies and predicaments.

Basketball is Fun!

With all of the hot takes and super serious basketball related opinions out there, it’s important to remember that this is a game being played and watched for fun. Every week we’ll highlight something on the lighter side of the hoops world. 

Barack Obama’s attachment to basketball has been trumpted since 2007, but I haven’t seen him hit a jumper since at least 2010. Meanwhile, BERNIE GETS BUCKETS. FUNDAMENTALS!


Meanwhile, Louisville’s Strength and Conditioning Coach was revealed to be a psycho, as is tradition for Strength and Conditioning Coaches.

Essential Reading

All the pieces and posts you need to read to be on the ball. 

Palestra Back this week: Potential Sixers trades before Thursday’s deadline and a run around with the best teams in college basketball

More from me, at Rush The Court: Villanova is finding success via its lesser known players.

Big week for basketball reading, especially thanks to TrueHoop taking over ESPN’s NBA coverage. That included a study of the fatigue NBA players experience due to the 82 game schedule, investigating Steph Curry’s recovery from his ankle troubles, a profile of Jahlil Okafor, and a cool look into a new age statistic called “gravity”. All are definitely worth your time, especially the Curry piece by Pablo Torre.

Back at my second home, Rush the Court, Greg Mitchell showcased Tyler Ulis’ defensive prowess.

SBNation’s Ricky O’Donnell detailed how, despite cold shooting, North Carolina is still a championship contender.

If you’ve been casually following college basketball so far, SBNation also has a nice guide to catch you up. Even if you’ve been tuned in, it’s pretty fun.

Lastly, this is just a tweet, but former Grantlander Mark Titus with a handy reminder about which teams could be on the short list to win this year championship, based on recent history.

Rank Shots

May the Tuesday Top Tens rest in pieces. Long live Rank Shots! If you’re not familiar, this is where we rank the best teams in the NBA, college basketball, and rank another totally irrelevant something.


  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Los Angeles Clippers
  7. Chicago Bulls

College Basketball

  1. Maryland
  2. Kansas
  3. Iowa
  4. Villanova
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Virginia
  7. North Carolina
  8. Michigan State
  9. Kentucky
  10. Iowa State
  11. West Virginia
  12. Duke

Bruce Springsteen Songs

I can’t say whether my loves of sports and writing outdate my love of Springsteen music, but like every other person who has ever written about sports ever, I love The Boss.

I was lucky enough to see Bruce and the E Street Band live last week, so this seems like the perfect time to rank essentially every Springsteen song worth listening to.

  1. “Incident on 57th Street”
  2. “Badlands”
  3. “A Good Man Is Hard To Find (Pittsburgh)”
  4. “Thunder Road”
  5. “Jungleland”
  6. “Born to Run”
  7. “Land of Hopes and Dreams (Live)”
  8. “Give the Girl a Kiss”
  9. “The River”
  10. “Highway Patrolman”
  11. “Because the Night”
  12. “Atlantic City”
  13. “The Promised Land”
  14. “Stolen Car”
  15. “Bobby Jean”
  16. “No Surrender”
  17. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”
  18. “Adam Raised a Cain”
  19. “She’s The One”
  20. “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”
  21. “Johnny Bye-Bye”
  22. “Thunder Crack”
  23. “American Skin (41 Shots)”
  24. “Santa Ana”
  25. “Dancing In The Dark”
  26. “Growin’ Up”
  27. “Shut Out The Light”
  28. “Out In The Street”
  29. “Racing in the Street”
  30. “Backstreets”
  31. “I Wanna Be With You”
  32. “My Hometown”
  33. “Darkness on the Edge of Town”
  34. “The Promise”
  35. “Seaside Bar Song”
  36. “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
  37. “Be True”
  38. “Two Hearts”
  39. “Tougher Than The Rest”
  40. “Prove It All Night”
  41. “I’m On Fire”
  42. “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?”
  43. “Meeting Across the River”
  44. “Better Days”
  45. “Crush On You”
  46. “Independence Day”
  47. “Night”
  48. “I Wanna Marry You”
  49. “My Love Will Not Let You Down”
  50. “Sherry Darling”
  51. “Zero and Blind Terry”
  52. “I Wish I Were Blind”
  53. “The Ties That Bind”
  54. “Factory”
  55. “Blinded By The Light”
  56. “Hungry Heart”
  57. “Save My Love”
  58. “Take ‘Em As They Come”
  59. “Fire”
  60. “It’s Hard to Be A Saint In The City”
  61. “For You”
  62. “Roll of the Dice”
  63. “Where The Bands Are”
  64. “Reason to Believe”
  65. “Bishop Danced”
  66. “Ricky Wants A Man of Her Own”
  67. “I’m Going Down”
  68. “Rendezvous”
  69. “Mary, Queen of Arkansas”
  70. “Drive All Night”
  71. “Born in the USA”
  72. “This Hard Land”
  73. “Jesus Was An Only Son”
  74. “Downbound Train”
  75. “Girls In Their Summer Clothes”
  76. “The E Street Shuffle”
  77. “Fade Away”
  78. “Devils and Dust”
  79. “The Rising”
  80. “Wrecking Ball”
  81. “Radio Nowhere”
  82. “The Ghost of Tom Joad”

UPDATE: This list is now available as a Spotify playlist, which can be found right here.

Something Vaguely Basketball Related You Should Have Seen By Now

Let’s go!

Games To Watch This Week


NCAA: Oklahoma State at #6 Kansas (9 PM/ESPN)


NCAA: #10 West Virginia at #24 Texas (7 PM/ESPN2), #14 Iowa State at #21 Baylor (9 PM/ESPN2)

Fun Big XII doubleheader right there.


NCAA: #19 Dayton at St. Joe’s (6 PM/CBSSN)

#1 Villanova at Temple (7 PM/ESPN2)

#20 Providence at #5 Xavier (7 PM/FS1)

Alabama at LSU (9 PM/SECN)

Duke at #9 UNC (9 PM/ESPN)

Arizona State at #17 Arizona (9 PM/ESPN2)

What a Wednesday!!




NBA: Bulls at Cavs (8 PM/TNT), Spurs at Clippers (10:30/TNT)


Welcome back, NBA!

NCAA: Wisconsin at #8 Michigan State (9 PM/ESPN)


NCAA: Iona at Monmouth (10 PM LOCAL TIME TIP!/ESPNU)

So, Monmouth has become one of college basketball’s best stories. Their bench is fun and they are building a nice little tournament resume. Iona is one of the only teams in the MAAC capable of putting the brakes on the Monmouth hype train. Last time they played, Iona’s coach talked some trash about the bench antics, the game was a 110-102 barnburner, and things ended with a slap fight:

FVnH9qH - Imgur

Now they have a rematch at 10 PM local time. Things will get fiesty!


NBA: Warriors at Clippers (8:30/ABC)

NCAA: Duke at #13 Louisville (Noon/ESPN)

#8 Miami at #9 UNC (1 PM/CBS)

#21 Baylor at #24 Texas (2 PM/ESPN)

St Joe’s at Davidson (2 PM/NBCSN)

Butler at #1 Villanova (2:30/FOX)

#3 Oklahoma at #10 West Virginia (4 PM/ESPN)

#22 Kentucky at #15 Texas AM (6:30/ESPN)

Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s (10 PM/ESPN2)


NBA: Cavs at Thunder (3:30/ABC)

NCAA: Michigan at #2 Maryland (1 PM/CBS)

Enjoy the games, folks. 

(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops will end with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here.)


Header Image via Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at He has also contributed to, Rush The Court,, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas, or questions, email them to

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