The debate is on after a wild finish in the men's college basketball game between St. Olaf and Augsburg Wednesday night in Northfield.
The situation: Augsburg held a 75-74 lead with 0.2 seconds on the clock.
St. Olaf had the basketball and the player passing the ball inbounds from the baseline threw a lob that was tipped in by one of his teammates. But what looked like an improbable buzzer beater to win was quickly waved off by the officials.
The St. Olaf athletics website described the play by Troy Diggins Jr. as a "motion like a volleyball set," with Diggins using two hands to tap the ball in for the basket that was ruled too late.
Here's how the NCAA rulebook defines shots taken with less than a second on the clock.
"In any period, when the game clock displays 10ths of seconds and play is to be resumed by a throw-in or a free throw when 3/10 (.3) of a second or less remains on the game clock, a player may not gain control of the ball and attempt a try for a field goal. Such player can only score a field goal by means of a tap of a pass or of a missed free throw."
That makes it clear that a player cannot get a shot off without tapping the ball into the basket. If the player gains any sort of control over the ball it is deemed impossible to get a shot off with 0.3 seconds or fewer on the clock.
So how does the NCAA define a tap?
"A tap is a type of try for field goal whereby a player attempts to score two or three points by directing a live ball into his team’s basket with his hands or fingers without the ball coming to rest in his hand(s)."
That begs the question: Did the ball ever come to a rest in the St. Olaf player's hands?
The officials clearly thought so, but you be the judge.