The Tennessee Volunteers just enjoyed a great season.
They won 31 games, beat the Kentucky Wildcats twice, and made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
But that’s as far as they went thanks to the Purdue Boilermakers, and a little controversy, something the Vols are no stranger to.
After trailing by as many as 18, the Vols went on a furious second-half rally to seemingly take command in the final minute. After leading by three with a minute left, Ryan Cline hit a three-ball to tie the game at 80-all before a Grant Williams up by two with 10 seconds left.
At that point, ESPN’s win probability projection gave the Vols an 83.7% chance of winning, but the Vols fouled Purdue star Carsen Edwards on a three-point attempt with two seconds left.
However, the foul in question was one that, while there was contact, is usually not called in the final seconds.
Thanks to the new PI review rules, this “foul” call with 1.7 seconds left would be overturned in the NFL pic.twitter.com/NU6Jz8Gb2W— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 29, 2019
I’ve seen far more contact in countless games not called, not to mention any fanbase would be irate if that was called against their team in that situation. And Edwards clearly pushed his leg out to sell the foul more.
But we’re talking about a Tennessee team that benefited from bad officiating late in wins at Vanderbilt and vs. Kentucky in the SEC Tournament.
Edwards finished with a game-high 29 points on 8/22 shooting, including two of three free throws to send the game into overtime, where Purdue cruised to a 99-94 win.
The real story was Ryan Cline, who averages just 11.7 ppg but erupted for 27 points on 10/13 shooting and 7/10 from three-point land to knock the Vols out of March Madness.