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By Matt McCoy
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It appears CBS, and Charles Barkley have accomplished their objective. Barkley, who's outspoken analysis made him a star on TNT's NBA coverage, is being used during the NCAA tournament for a second consecutive year. He's there to entertain, push buttons and generate talk. Mission accomplished.
So far he's called the Big Ten overrated, touted the Mountain West (which has no teams left in the field) as the nation's best league and Sunday said Iowa State was robbed of victory by the referees.
Barkley said the charging foul on the Cyclones Will Clyburn with 1:41 left was a 'terrible call' and the officials decided the outcome. Buckeye fans responded on social media and via e-mail to our Bucksline inbox. Consequently, Barkley's comments and the controversial play became a topic of discussion on Bucksline Monday night.
"Charles Barkley is an entertainer. He's there to entertain and generate this type of controversy," 610 WTVN basketball analyst Tony White said. "(CBS) wants us to be talking about this. They want us to talk about their comments, their views and that Iowa State somehow got screwed and it cost them the game."
The call itelf, no doubt, was a huge play. Aaron Craft, who drew the charge, got break---his heel was over the restricted area under the basket. If it's a block, Iowa State goes up three, with a free throw coming.
But with 1:43 on the clock, the game is far from over. As Tony put it, "(The call) certainly affected Iowa State's ability to win that game but did it cost them the game?..No. Did it make it harder for them to win the game?..Yes. But this is the NCAA tournament. It's time to put your big boy pants on and take the adversity and go win the game."
To Tony's point, had the block been called, there's no guarantee that Ohio State would not have come back to win. Conversley, Iowa State, after the call was made, was still in the lead. Moments later a Craft free throw tied the game and the Cyclones had a possession to take the lead again but they turned the ball over. Then, following a missed jumper by Craft, they failed to secure a defensive rebound, giving Ohio State and Craft a second chance. The Buckeyes took advantage with Craft's dramatic game winning shot.
"It was a tough call and if I'm an Iowa State fan I'm not happy but I can't believe that that's all CBS wanted us to take out of that basketball game," Sportsrappup.com's Jeff Rapp said. "You had a kid win the game with a game winning shot. There haven't been that many indelible moments in this tournament yet. Instead of talking about that or breaking that down or celebrating that, (CBS) spent five, six or seven minutes talking with some coordinator of officials (about the call). I don't understand why you want to take away from the game over a play that happens in every basketball game, is a bang-bang play and is a tough call."
But, that's the way CBS and Barkley played it there's no doubt they're pleased. Not only did a show like Bucksline spend time answering e-mails and tweets about Barkley and their coverage, but the ratings for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament are out and they're the highest they've been in 15 years. We may not like it, but Barkley's Big Ten bashing isn't going anywhere.
Manziel's Craft bashing a hoax
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M found himself in the middle of a controversy of which he was completely unaware. Sunday night on Twitter, tweets that appeared to be from Manziel's account were bashing Aaron Craft.
"Dude from Ohio State... Craft? Overrated!," one read. Another said, "Yeah, nice shot at the end. But where was he the 10 mins b4?? Garbage, dude!"
Naturally, the anti-Craft messages were retweeted and Manziel was taking tons of heat--especially from Buckeye Nation.
As it turns out though, it was all a hoax. According to collegespun.com the tweets were photoshopped to make them look like they came from Manziel's account. The A&M quarterback was at first, bewildered.
"Confused why all these people are saying I said something bad about Aaron Craft. Can someone enlighten me?," Manziel tweeted Monday.
Shortly after that he tweeted again, "Aaron Craft is easily one of my favorite players in the tourney. All these tweets are FALSE. Kid has lockdown D& kept his team alive. #respect."
So, if you were on social media or heard about the Manziel's hatred of Craft--ease up. Johnny Football is OK with Aaron Basketball.