The Loop

For the second time this week, bettors got royally screwed by a basket that shouldn't have counted

February 07, 2019

On Monday night, college basketball bettors were up in arms over an odd situation that occurred in a game between Iowa State and Oklahoma. As the final seconds ticked off the clock and Iowa State had the game in hand, leading 75-71, Oklahoma guard Jamal Bieniemy came barreling down the court to chuck up a last-second shot. This was every Cyclones bettor's nightmare, as ISU closed the game as a -2.5 favorite. Any type of meaningless buzzer beater, a two or a three, would have killed the cover.

After crossing half court, Bieniemy picked up his dribble and heaved a runner from the three-point line that hit the back of the iron and went in. A total dagger...or was it? If you watch closely, the red light that signals the buzzer is clearly on while the ball is still in Bieniemy's hands. Watch below:

Judging by that, the basket shouldn't have counted, although the ESPN broadcast clearly shows that there is 0.2 seconds still remaining when the red light is on. You could go to review and see if the ball is still in his hands when the clock is at 0.0, but if it doesn't change the outcome of the game, it's kind of pointless, right?

WRONG. With the legalization of sports gambling (and even without it) this is a huge problem, which you could clearly see from the social media reaction. This play changed fortunes for many, and by rule, if the shot was late it should not have counted, but it did anyway. Folks who had Iowa State -2.5 had legitimate gripes, especially after this picture made the rounds:

Fast forward to Wednesday night, just 48 hours later, a nearly identical situation occurred in a game between Villanova and Creighton. Villanova closed as a -9 favorite, and to be fair, had absolutely no business covering the spread the entire night. At halftime the Wildcats led by only a point, and they eventually found themselves tied at the end of regulation and headed to overtime. Miraculously, Villanova dominated the overtime period, taking a 9-point lead with three seconds remaining and at least earning Nova bettors an incredible push.

As Lee Corso would say (I really miss football), "not so fast my friend!" Creighton guard Kaleb Joseph came sprinting down the court and threw up one last two-pointer, and of course, he made it! But once again, it looked like time had expired. Take a look:

The officials on this game also said the basket counted. What do you guys think?

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There maybe has never been a more clear "no basket" call in the history of the sport. How on earth can you allow this to count? And for those who are saying Nova had no business covering anyway, 1. you are correct 2. even though your correct, it's still messed up and 3. this affected way more than just the spread on the game. If we want to really get in the weeds, this had a huge impact on both the second half spread and second half over/under, which, for gambling novices, are bets you can make at halftime of games that are specific only to the second half (real galaxy brain explanation there). In this case, the second half over/under was somewhere in between 74 and 76, and this last-second two made made it 76. Also, Nova was favored in the second half probably by 7.5 or 8, and the final two-pointer covered that. Overtime obviously also impacted all of this, but overtime is one of the most exhilarating parts of gambling. Sometimes it kills you, and sometimes it brings you back to life. Anybody remember the Texas A&M-LSU football game? My DraftKings account remembers.

The fun doesn't stop there either. Apparently, one of the same officials that was on the Oklahoma-Iowa State game was also on the Villanova-Creighton game. You cannot make it up, folks. And yes, the internet is running FULL speed ahead with this conspiracy:

Any time a referee's name becomes one that everyone knows, it's never good. Roger Ayers is basically the second coming of Tim Donaghy, according to the internet (they may have a point). Let's just say gamblers will be watching each game he refs like a hawk.