Not sure which was worse in the aftermath of the third round NCAA tournament game between Creighton and North Carolina: the volume and language of some Tar Heel fans, or the sanctimoniousness of the BratJay fans. Were some North Carolina fans out of line, especially on Twitter to Ethan Wragge? Absolutely. But Creighton fans need to own up to the fact that their Jays were thuggish at times against North Carolina. It's really not even up for discussion; even Greg McDermott had to call Roy Williams to explain that's not the way Creighton normally plays. And Williams later said that if McDermott hadn't called, Williams would have called anyway.
The clear evidence is on Gregory Echenique's hard shove of Tyler Zeller. Nearly everybody who watched the replay of it agrees that Echenique should have been called for a flagrant foul. Oh sure, Tom Shatel wrote that Zeller "took a dive to draw a charge on Echenique" in his post-game comment. Obviously Shatel never really watched a replay of the incident before submitting his column, a fact he admitted on Monday. (How in the heck could Zeller have drawn a charge on the play? North Carolina had the ball and Zeller was heading towards the basket on offense.) Let's just say this was Shatel's biggest flip-flop since the Solich-should-stay/Solich-should-go columns in 2003.
What about the other two plays? The Grant Gibbs play on John Henson may not have been illegal, but it wasn't exactly sportsmanlike. The wink that CBS caught was proof of the intent. The Wragge foul on Kendall Marshall wasn't dirty in and of itself...but the other two plays set the precedent for the style of play that Creighton was exhibiting. It clouds everybody's opinions, and when the effect was to send Marshall to the hospital, Wragge pays the price for the sins of Grant and Echenique.
Is Creighton a dirty team? I can't answer that; other than Sunday's game against North Carolina, I haven't watched more than a few minutes of Creighton basketball since needing a technical foul to defeat the Huskers at home. They didn't appear dirty that day, and so I have to take McDermott at his word that Creighton doesn't typically play that way.
But on Sunday, there can be no doubt: Creighton played dirty at times against North Carolina. And just like Nebraska fans with Ndamukong Suh, Bluejay fans need to admit that their team was in the wrong on this one.