"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
2/6/2013 – Michigan 76, Ohio State 74 (OT) – 21-2, 8-2 Big Ten
I guarantee Tim Hardaway Jr has never heard of obscure indie band Rilo Kiley or heard "A Better Son/Daughter" or even seen The Wizard, in which then-preteen future obscure indie band singer Jenny Lewis debuted along with Super Mario 3. (It was a heady time.) But I also guarantee that for most of the second half he heard that song he had never heard, the bit about sometimes when you're on.
Mitch McGary sings "La Cucaracha" to himself most of the time, but especially during basketball games.
INNER LIFE OF MITCH MCGARY
/INNER LIFE OF MITCH MCGARY
Nik Stauskas… obvious.
One day Nik Stauskas will find out that not everybody in the whole world has BALL SO HARD going through their head 24 hours a day, and a lot of previously inexplicable things will magically explain themselves. That one time he cut off an old lady at the supermarket and spiked her baguette to the floor. The aftermaths of various domino-spiking incidents. That thing about racing a horse. &c.
Glenn Robinson III hears nothing but jet engine takeoff, and knows nothing about the world of music. He knows the roar of escape velocity only. He can talk to birds. Birds are in fact sick of talking to Glenn Robinson III. Excuse birds, they have to go regurgitate some food now.
Trey Burke… Trey Burke is a tough one.
Narrative whatnots ranging from your own to trash-talking Ohio State fans on twitter to Mike Tirico and Dick Vitale tell you that Craft versus Burke was once again a victory for Craft and his infuriating brand of that's-80%-of-a-foul-argh defense. Then you go look at a box score that tells you Burke put up 16 points on 12 shots and had eight assists against two turnovers, and your brain has an ellipses as it tries to fit that into the thing you thought might have happened.
Then you remember that Michigan's grand strategy at the end of the game and OT was "Burke, go do something" and the resulting tough stepback threes were more on Beilein walking Burke into a trap with no time on the clock than any fault of his, and you revise that shot count down to ten and… well. First of all, it's impressive that Burke only took ten shots from the structure of the offense. He is an alpha dog. His natural inclination when things get heated is to take everything on his shoulders, and this game wasn't heated so much as it was generating enough energy to thaw most of the state should a Crisler door blow open at an opportune time. Burke still kept himself even-keeled.
Previous Ohio State games have featured plenty of frustrating moments when the pick and roll has been more of an invitation to get trapped towards the sidelines than a way to generate offense, and while there was a bit of that here, it was less prominent. Multiple times Burke turned a tough drive into a kickout three instead of a low-percentage two, and I felt surprise. This is a guy who wants to put it on his shoulders, sometimes to Michigan's detriment. Here he dialed it back a bit—22% usage versus 32% in Columbus—and found plenty of payoff in the form of Hardaway and Stauskas raining in threes.
Those stepbacks at the end of the game were an alternate scenario largely avoided. Burke had to absorb some Buddhism in this one, and win the game without winning it.
Except, of course, for the part where he won it. The part where he almost seemed to let Craft by him on purpose because he knew a pullup in the lane was coming, and thwacked the ball to Glenn Robinson to preserve the slimmest of all leads—to preserve their claim to being elite. It's the bit of the box score you hardly look at because Trey Burke is generously listed at six feet tall.
Aaron Craft is Ohio State's primary assist generator. He had one in this game, a game in which his team put up 55% from two. None of that was generated by Craft, who turned the ball over as much as Burke and found out that putting the game on your shoulders is a grand burden indeed. On the last three possessions Burke stripped him, blocked him, and rode him into the doom of Tim Hardaway. The last play was pure Craft: riding your man down the court on the edge of a foul, forcing his attention onto you on his shoulder until it is too late.
That's not in the box score. The tree of victory sometimes grows from silent soil. Or something like that. I'm not much better at being Buddhist than Trey Burke.
I'm not sure what Trey Burke's life soundtrack is. Could be Vivaldi or Bombs Over Baghdad. It's probably all things smashed together; Burke puts one headphone to an ear and mashes things together until the thing that comes out doesn't seem like it could have been constructed from the parts that went in.
Rucker park. I couldn't have been the only one who thought about that Kevin Durant video when THJ was going NBA Jam:
There was a nonzero chance of that fourth one resulting in the same court rush.
Begone, heroball. Brief digression on why the fadeaway three from Burke in the previous Ohio State game was okay and this one drove me nuts:
DOWN TWO ON ROAD: If you get a two you have an approximately 50% chance to win. If you get a three you win. If the two is twice as likely to go down (or get you free throws that you make) as the three, it's even. Since you're on the road your chance of winning is slightly lower, so… even if you think that Burke three was only 30% to go in, the drive would have to be around 65-70% to be a clearly better option. (A potential OSU response is irrelevant since any bucket they get means you lose.)
TIED AT HOME: Go get a damn point. If the drive is at all likelier to get you a damn point it is a better idea. It is likelier to get you a damn point. So go get it.
Michigan is an exceedingly low-turnover outfit with multiple excellent scoring options. Putting Burke in a one-on-one situation against the best perimeter defender in college basketball is not your best option, and the potential downside is not just a turnover but a turnover that comes early enough for the opponent to get a meaningful possession. Yeah, it's not impossible, but the reward outweighs the risk.
The 1-4 set late is the equivalent of run-run-pass-punt when you're up late in football. Easy to justify, statistically poor.
I may have to dump the Big Puppy nickname if McGary is going to play like this, not that I have a huge problem with it. (Upchurch @ right.)
Impact. Mitch McGary has it.
He kept Michigan in contact in the first half with dives to the bucket and putbacks, going 5/8. He'd finish 7 of 13, the only Wolverine to hit more than half his twos—the only one to make more than two. The rebounding numbers aren't astounding—3 offensive, 3 defensive—but four steals against one foul is. He is coming over entry passes and busting them up at a rate I haven't seen before from a Michigan player.
In addition to the box score stuff, he was all over the court doing his usual McGary things. Whenever I look at the Kenpom boxes it seems like Michigan has more "team" rebounds on both offense and defense than the opponent. This feels like a McGary halo effect from the guy battering all manner of balls about. For example, late in the game he harassed Lenzelle Smith into the sideline as he attempted to rebound a Michigan miss. Michigan got the ball and a "team" offensive rebound. In the highlights above he hedges Craft into the sideline; Craft attempts to save the possession by hurling the ball off of McGary; the ball deflects to Robinson, who gets credit for a steal* and Michigan fast-breaks the other way. He's a massive possession generator statistically and there's an excellent case to be made that he is being shortchanged by those stats.
McGary's not a slug on offense, either. He can put the ball on the deck for a couple dribbles against other fives; in this one Amir Williams had an excellent block on one of those drives, but the other ended in a layup. His skill level is relatively high for a big. And he does all that other business.
At this point he's swung back from overrated to underrated. I mean, is there much difference between what he's giving M and what Nerlens Noel is giving Kentucky? Noel blocks a butt-ton of shots; McGary is an incredible rebounder on both ends of the floor. They're about even in offensive efficiency. So… who would you rather have? It's at least up for debate if McGary continues pulling down the minutes he has the last couple games.
*[I'm pretty sure that's the letter of the law, right?]
Alright. Defense is something of an issue. Michigan overplayed Deshaun Thomas to decent effect—or Ohio State just forgot to go to him late—and held him to 17 points on 15 shots. Given OSU's struggles to find secondary scoring you would take that as an easy Michigan win when paired with shooting nearly 60% from three.
That was not the case thanks in large part to LaQuinton Ross, who went nuts. He hit seven of ten shots and probably didn't have more than one empty possession since he rebounded a lot of his misses.
Add in Sam Thompson, Amir Williams, and Lenzelle Smith hitting eight of ten twos—Smith had a poor day from three—and that's how Ohio State kept pace with Hardaway's beast mode second half. Everyone other than Craft and Deshaun Thomas was throwing down easy stuff. Michigan said "someone other than Thomas will beat us" and Ohio State was like "okay."
Q: where was the zone? Ohio State struggled against the 2-3 zone in the previous game. Michigan pulled it out briefly and it seemed to be going fairly well. For whatever reason, the coaches didn't like the way it looked and went back to what turned out to be a highly porous man to man.
Revisiting the Morgan thing. I don't know if that's really the issue. I mean, how bad does McGary have to be positionally to wipe out four steals and assorted other turnover generation? Overhelping accusations go back to that discussion about whether that's on the big or the guy who gave up the drive the big felt he had to respond to. There's nothing in the way of stats that suggests Morgan is integral to the defense, so we're left with fuzzy business about rotations. I don't know. My eyes say that 1) McGary is playing really well and 2) Michigan is playing badly on defense. I can't reconcile those.
On the other hand. Hi I just watched the MGoBlue highlights embedded above and they happen to have a good deal of OSU's secondary scoring included. Sam Thompson's 3/3 night consisted of a transition tip dunk and two tough shots, one a baseline runner (not included), the other a baseline 18-footer with a decent contest from Stauskas. Lenzelle Smith's game-tier is a scramble off an offensive rebound that still sees Stauskas chase him off the three-point line with a closeout and forces him to re-set and fire from just inside the arc. That's a pretty good outcome off that OREB.
Maybe OSU just had a good game? There's a lot of randomness in here.
Rebounding check. This looked basically even in the ESPN box score but as per usual, once the whirlwind effect of McGary bouncing balls off all of the faces is taken into account, Michigan comes out looking better. With five team rebounds to OSU's two that pushes them up to 38% to 32%, which is a moderate edge.
More than halfway through the conference season their rebounding is holding up much better than it was last year: they're third on D, fourth on O. Last year they finished 9th and 10th in those categories, respectively. The rest of the schedule is four easy games and four hard ones, so that doesn't seem to be a schedule effect.
Uniformz. I was trying to ignore them as best I could. Unfortunately twitter was nonstop trash-talk about them until the game became so good Michigan could have come out in garbage bags elaborately festooned with penises bearing Dave Brandon's face and no one would have noticed. Twitter, I am trying to grit the ol' teeth here, and you are not helping.
I don't care anymore. This is the scene in Planet of the Apes after Charlton Heston screams "YOU MANIACS YOU BLEW IT UP" in which Charlton turns to his companion and says "I'm hungry, do you guys still have Jimmy John's?" It is what it is. It'll slowly erode my will to live, but whatever. I've said my bit.
The one thing I'd like to mention: Michigan handed out honest-to-god Maize shirts for the Maizeout. I didn't know they actually made those anymore, and can we pick a yellow? No, we cannot pick a yellow.
"But the kids like them." The first album I ever bought was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack. I memorized it. Kids are stupid.
Oblig. ref bit. Spent entire second half grinding my teeth about the Craft post-buzzer (except there was no buzzer) three. Why was there no buzzer? I'm pretty sure the refs can't look at the player and the shot clock at the same time, so they have to rely on the noise. No noise, no shot clock violation. That may be on Crisler instead of the refs. Nik Stauskas put up a prayer after the buzzer went off later, but there was no buzzer so it didn't go off and there was no call.
The phantom foul on Burke was probably the right result since Hardaway did get Thomas's arm on the shot. The ref missed it and had to make up some bullcrap on Burke once it was clear Thomas had airballed it implausibly, but it was a foul. Just not on the dude who got it.
The offensive goaltending non-call… oy.
The sequence at the end was classic late-game ref ostriching: it was a flagrant on Craft and probably a foul on Hardaway. Sometimes they let you get away with some extra contact when you get your hand literally on top of the ball, as Hardaway did. I can see not calling that because by the time the arm contact starts in earnest Hardaway has already destroyed any chance of a shot. Still seemed foul-y to me.
Don't get me started on the "let them decide it on the floor" meme. They are deciding it on the floor as long as you call the game the way you should.
My impression is that he does not have a real strong grasp of the offense yet and thus breaks up the flow of our sets. He seems to over-dribble a bit when he gets the ball. It doesn't concern me too much at this point, freshman and all that. Just needs to learn not to force it quite as much.
is a seasoned big man who rebounds well and puts himself in good defensive position. I think that his loss is being felt against very stellar front courts and find suggestions to the contrary ridiculous.
Yeah, I think rebounding is difficult to understand statistically apart from comparing defensive rebounding percentages for differing 5-man lineups. My impression is that one of the major effects of Morgan's diligent blocking out is the creation of space underneath that allows THJ and GRIII to use their leaping ability to get rebounds. Without the space, they're getting pushed under the rim and can't jump as effectively within the mass of bodies.
Thought the uniforms were fine other than having unreadable names but Adidas did the same thing to Nebraska and Wisconsin for their game earlier this year. I am not a fan of Nike putting the logo on the front of their jerseys recently (OSU, Gonzaga, Texas and I think even Duke). Not sure why but they look like a Euro league team.
Agreed. I was on the other side of the arena from Craft's shot, but clearly heard the buzzer before he let it go. Though in Brian's defense, it was pretty loud on that in-bounds, so maybe not everyone heard it.
Watching the game on TV, you could clearly hear the buzzer before Craft let it go. Same with the Stauskas follow up. What I want to know is why the refs weren't able to review it. It seemed to me that Beilein was asking for a review. Do the rules not allow a review for a shot clock violation? I thought they could check it at the next stoppage in play.
Don't get the lack of review either. They'll review a made a 3 pointer if there's a question as to whether the shooter's foot might have been on line but they won't review whether a shot got off in time?
Reviewing a potential shot clock violation isn't allowed. Which makes no sense, but that's why they didn't review it. Minnesota got screwed on this rule(or helped?) earlier in the year in a big ten game, I can't remember who the other team was.
McGary seems to solidify the defense and in regard to him over helping the defender is getting beaten one on one baseline. This is a cardinal sin for any defender. Michigan perimeter D has to use the baseline as another defender. When the opponent drives middle the Michigan defense needs to do a better job of "helping early". McGary and others need to show help early by stepping toward the driver before his defender is beat. Until we start helping early expect more of the same.
It's not a cardinal sin if the defensive principles are to steer everything to the baseline, where the help would be. If a team is steering to baseline there will be little help in the middle. McGary is great on hedging and help side. The early help principle is good and true but only if the principles are in sync.
I would simply say getting beat baseline in zone play is worse because help is not there. The man help is supposed to be, especially being two passes away.
Courage isn't just one of the virtues; it's the one virtue that holds all other virtues together.
The baseline is used as an extra defender reducing the amount of help required. Good defenses both zone and man require the use of court boundaries to free defenders to stop drives penetrating the middle. The best zone teams such as Syracuse use man principals in a zone set up. When done effectively it appears to be a switching man to man. Cannot get beat one on one baseline. McGary does do an excellent job hedging, but there is no such thing as over helping. Root cause is we were beat baseline. I would like to see better rotation of helpside guard down to the block when McGary has to leave for help. Especially against non sharp shooting teams.
But it was recently, so I'll post it here too. There are some things that I think Michigan can still really clean up that can make them better still. Off the top of my head from the other night (and this season as a whole):
McGary gets lost on help defense. This is the reason for so many second chance baskets with him in the game. He loses his man and doesn't get a body on them when the ball gets in the air. It's not about being more physical, it's about finding your man and getting a body into him. I mentioned it earlier when Ace brought up that McGary may be a shot blocker, but McGary isn't a quick jumper (I don't know the physics behind this, but some people seem to jump higher and somehow land quicker) but he seems to be just hitting the ground when going for a block by the time the other team is getting a put back. Robinson could afford to be a bit more physical on the glass however.
Wing defense needs a lot of work. Indiana killed Michigan on the wings (this was a reason, combined with point 1, that the last two games have seen a lot of easy put backs). Wings need to pin guys to the sideline more and not let them get to the baseline so easily (force them up toward the help so the big can slide into them if you aren't going to be able to cut off the baseline, though the way Michigan doubles, by sliding the guy underneath, may make this different than what I was always taught).
Transition defense has been a major sore spot for this team all year. They had some bright spots in this game, but on one play in particular, LaVert failed to hustle back to the block when on an OSU 1v2 break and the guy blew by him for an easy lay in. It's also leading to a lot of open looks from 3 because the team is struggling to get back.
Finish. Man that game could have been a lot more comfortable in OT if Michigan would have finished some easy/open looks.
I'd like Burke to take it to the hole and do a runner or pull-up from 12-17 at least one time rather than the step back 3. Have to at least threaten the defender that way at the end of the game at some point to get better looks from deep at the end of games.
When Stauskas drives he needs to look opposite corner. A few times he took it to the hole (which I like, and most of the time he should have finished) but there were some open players opposite corner when he got doubled down.
Robinson really needs to work on his picks. OSU got around his picks way too easily numerous times (part of this is the ball handler isn't running off tight enough because they are used to McGary being a wider body). He needs to set up closer to the defender so they can't slip over top of it as easily.
All that said, it was a great win for Michigan. When you can have some pretty big things to work on and still come away with a victory against a really good team shows just how good this team is (especially offensively).
Lot of good stuff here. On point 5, about Burke, I think he's starting his attack 2 seconds too late. One of his most effective moves is that hesitation dribble, but since he's starting his attack with 5 seconds left, he doesn't really have time to deploy it, and his defender knows he's going for the step-back after he crosses over. If the defender had to worry about both the step back or the hestitation blow by, it would give Burke more options.
I disagree entirely with Brian on this 3 vs the one in Columbus. I was ok with this one because the worst case scenario was OT and he was eliminating the chance of the kind of turnover that Craft got with 40 seconds left in OT, the only way Michigan could lose. In that case, though it wasn't an end of game situation, the imperative was to get a good look or force the foul, something more likely to come with ball movement.
(1) In reference to the risk-reward ratio of Burke going against a strong perimeter defender at the end of regulation, you may have missed that Michigan actually got a switch and Thomas was on Burke. Trey really needed to get into the lane and at a minimum draw a foul there (MIchigan was in the bonus). That was my issue with the 1-4, not the set itself.
(2) In reference to Burke's soundtrack, this article may in fact validate Vivaldi AND Bombs Over Baghdad.
Craft does have very good feet, and his on ball hand is very accurate (he usually gets the ball and not the player's hand when he swipes at it). But watch his off hand, that's the annoying part. He grabs and pulls and holds off the offensive player more than anyone else. He is a good and annoying defender, but refs let so much of his style of play go because they are watching his feet and on ball hand and not seeing the grabs and pulls that he does with his off hand (to be fair, I wouldn't want to ref that either, it's hard to see all those things).
What's key is that he doesn't leave it there. He checks really quick, retards the momentum, and then gets his hand off. The NBA did away with a lot of that kind of defending with their post-Riley Knicks hand check point of emphasis, but it's never been called that way in the NCAA and particularly in the Big 10.
"Rucker park. I couldn't have been the only one who thought about that Kevin Durant video when THJ was going NBA Jam:"
I'm sorry Brian but your players you like/players you no like as much bias shines through pretty clearly in this write up. Hardaway singlehandidly brought the team back in the second half and kept them in the game with his shooting and that's all he gets?
McGary, Stauskas and Burke get all kinds of mad love and songs but all Timmy gets is a lousy single line reference and no pics? The game story IMO was a single player putting the team on his back and carrying them in the second half when nobody else (not even the beloved three mentioned prominently in the write up) could do shit.
Tim deserves more than that Brian. He earned more than that.
Agreed. Hardaway is -- by far -- our 2nd best player ever since Big Ten play started. Stauskas has been shooting terribly from three in big games (his overall stats are still good because of non-con and blowouts against the Northwesterns of the conference), McGary hustles but his defense is suspect, GR3 hasn't shown up for the last couple games.
Love the guys above but Hardaway is a much improved defender, made a few critical defensive stops this game and has been solid in big moments. Adding the fact that he absolutely carried us last night and has been improving his shot selection as the season goes on and its just very clear to me that Hardaway is the #2 player on this team by a wide margin.
Agree with this 100%. Not saying the remaining players don't deserve the attention but we're nowhere close to winning that game without an epic second half performance from Hardaway, who has shown (against Minnesota notably and here) that he can carry the offense for periods of time in big games.
Hopefully, the zone is an answer to their struggles with interior defense this game.
Interesting info on the controversial calls. I'm still amazed at the lack of a flagrant foul call at the end of the game. That was over the top flagrant. Craft got all face and didn't seem to make any attempt at the ball. It was clearly a flagrant 1 and in my mind, without a play on the ball, clearly a flagrant 2. It appeared to be an intentional foul which cost Michigan an easy breakaway 2. Utterly bizarre and complete referee incompetence.
Yeah, the Hardaway play on Craft at the end, on close review, does look like a foul. But he got a lot of ball and the game would have been over at the point if the refs don't completely screw over Michigan on the flagrant non-call. Dickie V's whining about the non-call on Hardaway was extremely annoying given the previous play.
He was making a play on the ball, he just couldn't get to it. There was no intent to injure, which is usually the standard.
I do think that once they went to the monitor, they should have called it a flagrant 1. If you're going to review it, you've got to go with what exists on the tape, which is an elbow to the head. The refs clearly knew that he intended to foul and didn't think he was trying to hit him in the head, but once you go to the monitor, that notion of intent has to go out the window (this is different from the GRIII punch where he didn't know Hulls was there). If you're not going to go by what you see on the monitor, why even use it.
More generally, I'd like to see basketball adopt soccer referreeing's advantage call. If a foul harms the team that's fouled, you should be able to call play on. The running clock in soccer probably facilitates this, though.
According the the recent rules change, a flagrant 1 replaces the prior "intentional foul" and a flagrant 2 is an "intentional foul" with "excessive" contact.
So it was clearly a flagrant 1 since it was clearly "intentional." There was no attempt on the ball.
As for whether it's a flagrant 2, It's hard to see how Craft's foul on Robinson was not "excessive." He got 100% face with his hand and arm on an intentional foul with enough force to knock him to the ground.
With these definitions, the difference between flagrant 1 and flagrant 2 is a judgement call. But failure to call a flagrant 2 with this type of excessive contact seems questionable to me. According the the rule book, it is a flagrant 2 and a dangerous play by Craft which could have injured Robinson. It appears that the only way to get a flagrant 2 is to try to intentionally injure a player beyond a reasonable doubt (maybe a punch or kick).
About the only time I've seen flagrant 2's called is when someone hits a player in the air from behind on the break. I think most refs reserve that call for something like "an intentional foul with a willing disregard for the other player's safety." I think the rough standard is "a foul that, if it occurred in a pickup game, would immediately start a fight." (See Draymond Green's foul at the end of the Houston-Golden State game last night).
I didn't think that Craft's foul rose to that level, but it was certainly intentional, and arguably excessive, so I ref could probably defend the call to his supervisor. The NCAA should clarify that language though, because it doesn't correspond at all to the way that the game is reffed, ie, all end of game situational fouls are intentional.
So it was clearly a flagrant 1 since it was clearly "intentional."
According to your link intent is meaningless. Perhaps that's why you put it in quotes, but that wasn't clear to me.
I don't think the contact was severe or extreme, so by my judgement it is not a flagrant 2.
From the NCAA rule book:
c. Flagrant 1 personal foul. A flagrant 1 personal foul shall be a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but not based solely on the severity of the act. Examples include, but are not limited to:
1. Causing excessive contact with an opponent while playing the ball;
2. Contact that is not a legitimate attempt to play the ball or player, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from starting;
3. Pushing or holding a player from behind to prevent a score;
4. Fouling a player clearly away from the ball who is not directly involved with the play, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from starting; and
5. Contact with a player making a throw-in. (Women) This act shall also serve as a team warning for reaching through the boundary. (See Rule 4-17.1.g.)
6. Illegal contact with an elbow that occurs above the shoulders of an opponent when the elbows are not swung excessively per 4-36.7.a.Rule 4 / definitions 53 d. Flagrant 2 personal foul. A flagrant 2 personal foul shall be a personal foul that involves contact with an opponent that is not only excessive, but also severe or extreme while the ball is live.
Rule 4 Section 36 Article 7
Art. 7. The following shall be considered excessive swinging:
a. When arm(s) and elbow(s) are swung about while using the shoulders as pivots, and the speed of the extended arm(s) and elbow(s) exceeds that of the rest of the body as it rotates on the hips or on the pivot foot; or
b. When the speed and vigor with which the arm(s) and elbow(s) are swung is such that injury could result if another player were contacted.
What it boils down to is this: a flagrant 1 foul is a personal foul that is excessive or involves swinging elbows above the shoulders (which doesn't apply in this case).
So was Craft's foul excessive? I think yes, but it's still a judgement call.
So it was clearly a flagrant 1 since it was clearly "intentional." There was no attempt on the ball.
The problem with that as a standard is that if you applied it strictly, every end-of-game foul to stop the clock would be considered flagrant since the intent is to foul. Hell, the rulebook even says, as quoted above, that you're not allowed to foul to stop the clock, yet we let everyone do it anyway. That's why I would be 50/50 at best on calling that a flagrant, since we all basically accept that at the end of the game, the losing team is trying to foul on purpose. Was it excessive? Maybe, since he did get smacked upside the head. But intent is kind of a gray area at that stage of the game that we basically observe a convention to overlook.
What they should do is make it a point of emphasis that any contact to the head in late game "intentional fouling" circumstances constitutes a flagrant. That would immediately put an and to that kind of thing and remove the grey area of "well he didn't mean to and we don't want to ruin the game" that occurred last night.