Evanston, Ill. — The hook-and-hold foul in college basketball has already drawn the ire of plenty of coaches.
Add Michigan’s John Beilein to the list.
Early in the second half of Tuesday’s 62-60 win at Northwestern, junior center Jon Teske was trying to box out Wildcats big man Dererk Pardon and keep him off the offensive glass.
While the two were battling for position, their arms became tangled and Pardon was whistled for a foul as Teske tried to jump and corral the ball with one hand.
Pardon argued right away it was the other way around and his right arm was being locked by Teske’s left arm to make it look like he was committing a foul. It prompted the Northwestern bench to ask for a review and the officials — Lamont Simpson, Kelly Pfeifer and Steve McJunkins — obliged.
After looking at the play on the monitor, the refs assessed a flagrant 1 hook-and-hold foul on Teske.
That didn’t sit well with Beilein. He argued it still wasn’t clear who hooked who in the slow-motion replay shown on the video board at Welsh-Ryan Arena and the standard for such a call is low.
“That's the oddest thing. The foul was on them, on Teske, and somehow we get a technical foul and they get the ball,” Beilein said. “I think we have to continue as we look at this and find out is this really worth it? I could see if there's a hook-and-hold and somebody gets thrown to the ground. All right, let's go to the monitor because this is flagrant. But when it's a simple hook-and-hold, you don't even know.”
Prior to this season, the hook-and-hold used to be a common foul and wasn’t reviewable. But after Purdue’s Isaac Haas suffered a broken elbow when a player latched onto his arm during a rebound and pulled him to the ground during this past NCAA Tournament, it raised a safety issue and is now assessed as a flagrant 1, which awards a team two free throws and possession of the ball.
The foul gave Northwestern a prime opportunity to cut into Michigan’s eight-point lead with 19:07 to play, but Pardon missed both free throws and the Wildcats came up empty on its ensuing possession. And for a game that went down to the wire and came down to the final shot, the hook-and-hold call could’ve potentially changed the outcome.
There lies the concern that, in addition to disrupting the flow of the game, it could become a major factor in close contests.
“It's really problematic for the refs and I feel bad for them,” Beilein said. “If it's a violent hook-and-hold, we should be going to the monitor. But that today was absurd that they had to make that ruling, and it was the right ruling as the rule goes.”
It was the second hook-and-hold flagrant foul called on a Wolverine this season. Junior guard Zavier Simpson was whistled for one — only after a video review just like Teske — during a scramble for a loose ball at Villanova.