Down five with less than 30 seconds remaining last night in Minneapolis, the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers found themselves in a bind: They needed points, but first they needed the ball. One way to achieve both without losing precious seconds was by somehow drawing an offensive flagrant foul on Minnesota's in-bounds pass—an unlikely event. They nearly pulled it off, though. Hoosiers forward Will Sheehey collapsed to the ground clutching his face after setting a trap on the Gophers' Andre Hollins. The play brought Minnesota fans booingly to their feet and brought the referees to the scorer's table for a review:
Referees concluded no improper contact had occurred. They assessed the standard foul to Sheehey, and Hollins took his free throws. Almost immediately, Twitter and message boards lit up with accusations that Indiana coach Tom Crean had ordered his players to take a flop in an attempt to draw the flagrant foul (which would result in IU getting foul shots and possession). We've asked our lip reading expert Evan Brunell (last seen in this space deciphering John Harbaugh's Super Bowl rant) if he could figure out what Crean was saying.
Much of what Crean says is obscured, but here's what Brunell says can be read:
Try to get a foul coming off—(obscured)
That's his arm. (obscured) It all (hooks?) up on this. (obscured)
Five, (stand?), grab, foul!
Those claiming Crean told his team to flop mostly focus on the gesture he makes at the beginning of the video, though because he's obscured (possibly by design; notice that he's crouched very low at the beginning) we can't tell what he was saying in that moment. "Try to get a foul" is ambiguous; he could simply be telling his team to commit a foul on the in-bound pass, which is exactly what normal basketball strategy in that situation would be. We're sure Indiana fans will use this as vindication that Crean didn't do anything wrong—well, "wrong"—while his critics will claim it's proof he told his team to flop. We're staying out of this one. [ESPN]