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UNC Basketball: NC State HC Kevin Keatts calls Leaky Black’s foul on Terquavion Smith a “basketball play”

It’s really good to know that there’s a level-headed person in Raleigh.

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts held his pre-game press conference yesterday afternoon, and discussed Terquavion Smith’s current condition, the foul that injured him, and their upcoming game against Notre Dame. When it came to Leaky Black’s flagrant 2 foul on Smith, here is what Keatts had to say:

I thought it was a good basketball play. I didn’t think Leaky [Black] did anything intentional to try to harm him at all. I thought it was a really good basketball play. I thought he went for the ball, maybe even tipped the ball. It was just ugly because he came across, basically missed it, and hit [Smith] across the head, and obviously it was the way he fell.

Keatts calling the foul “a basketball play” is significant for a few reasons: first, NC State fans following the game insisted that not only was the call on the court correct Saturday evening, but some even suggested that Black did it on purpose. The other significance here is that by definition of what a flagrant 2 foul is, the argument could easily be made that the referees overreacted based on Smith being wheeled off of the court. The NCAA describes a flagrant 2 foul as being a “brutal, harsh, or cruel or dangerous or punishing” play, and as Al Hood pointed out yesterday, this is decided by considering the severity of the contact, whether the player is making a legitimate effort to block a shot, the potential injury resulting form the contact, etc. Obviously that last part is what the refs went with, but we’re getting into bizarre territory when we are punishing players for the other player falling in a way that so many other players have fallen, and yet this time it turned out badly. There’s no better example than what happened to Caleb Love later in the game, and that foul called as a flagrant 1.

Look, what happened Saturday is done and dusted, and if we’re going to be honest here, someone was always destined to leave the game extremely mad/salty about something. Tanya Anderson, Julius Emanuel, and I discussed this on the latest episode of What in Tar Nation, which you can check out by clicking one of the links below.

Thankfully for all of us, UNC will be able to move on from all of this when they take on Syracuse tonight. Hopefully it will be a boring game compared to what we endured Saturday in the Dean Dome.