Lexington: The Foul

By - March 18, 2007

I don't want to talk this thing to death this week like a lot of people are going to do. But here's a look at Greg Oden's fifth personal foul from the waning seconds of regulation Saturday afternoon:

First of all, if the referees do call an intentional foul in that situation, the game is over and Xavier advances. If you're Oden, all you need to do is reach out and touch the guy -- the officials are aware of the situation and are going to be looking for the foul. But instead of just grabbing Cage, the seven-footer actually steps into the Xavier forward and shoves him with two hands. I was sitting where the sideline meets the baseline about 25 feet away from the play (the bottom-right of the screen), and I thought the play would be whistled as an intentional foul for one reason: the resounding THUMP that was made when Cage's body hit the floor. That kind of force doesn't happen by mistake.

What makes this play even more curious is that Oden's defining characteristic throughout the season has been a composure -- on the defensive end in particular -- that's beyond his 19 years.

The refs might not have called this a flagrant foul. But the fact that Oden would put the game in the hands of the officials -- the fact that the foul could have been deemed flagrant -- is exactly what makes the move such a head-scratcher. Can you imagine if the future NBA all-star's last play as a collegian was a sudden Zizou-like combustion in the closing seconds of an upset loss?

Posted by at 10:53 AM on March 18, 2007

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