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Crackdown on flops a headache for officials

Referee Joe Lindsay makes a first-half call in the paint in Tuesday’s game between Dayton and Virginia Tech. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Maui News

Hank Nichols is at his 31st Maui Jim Maui Invitational as the coordinator of officials. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer was in his familiar corner chair on Tuesday in the Lahaina Civic Center, taking copious notes on the in-game referees for all four games.

One of the biggest headaches for officials this season is the new emphasis on the flopping call, which Nichols said “has been in the rules for at least 50 years.”

“If a guy flops and it’s an obvious flop then he gets a warning,” Nichols explained. “If he does it again, he gets a technical foul, but it’s going to be hard to know whether he did it on purpose or whether he stumbled or whether he was pushed a little bit.

“So, it’s going to be hard for the referees to adjudicate that most of the time, I think.”

Kansas fan Luke Oitker, 10, holds out his Jayhawks-inspired shave ice Tuesday. The Maui News / DAKOTA GROSSMAN photo

Nichols said that referees used to not call the flop rule as a “technical foul. The referees just passed on the play and let the guy be at a disadvantage because he flopped. So, I’m not sure I’m in love with the flop part of it.”

Another point of emphasis Nichols noted is the “cylinders — when a shooter goes up, the defender is not allowed to go in his cylinder so when he comes down he can come down to the floor. That has something to do with the flop, too, because in recent years these jump shooters, these 3-point shooters are falling down after they shoot the ball. So the referees have to be diligent about whether he got touched when he was in the air or not.”

The final point of emphasis Nichols noted was “in the last two minutes if you make a call on a goaltend or a basket interference, it can be reviewed.”

Fans showing support with shave ice

With a strong Kansas fan base at Lahaina Civic Center, it’s not surprising that cherry and blue raspberry — flavors representing the Jayhawks — have been the No. 1 choice at the Snorkel Store’s Shave Ice Spot booth in the tournament’s fan area.

The stand offers flavor combinations in colors representing each team in the tournament.

The Dayton Flyers are also a combination of blue raspberry and cherry, Virginia Tech is tiger’s blood and mango, BYU blue raspberry and coconut, Georgia strawberry and coconut, UCLA pineapple and coconut, Michigan State lemon-lime and coconut, and Chaminade is cotton candy.

“They own it better when they get to pick their favorite teams,” said Daniel Skyes, owner of the Snorkel Store. “They come up here and know exactly what they want.”

Skyes recalled a Michigan State fan who chose the team as his shave ice flavor even though he didn’t like coconut.

Keep up on social media

To see what people are saying about the tournament on social media — or get in on the conversation — it’s useful to know which hashtags to use.

The tournament itself is using #MauiHoops on its Twitter page, while host Chaminade likes to use #SwordsOhana.

To show love for Kansas, use #KUbball. Fans can also #CommitToTheG as the Bulldogs fight their way through the tourney, or yell #GoBruins for UCLA.

#BYUhoops and #GoCougs are also great tags to follow BYU, while Virginia Tech fans can use #Hokies and #StoneByStone.

Michigan State fans will definitely #GoGreen for its #SpartanDawgs, and Dayton fans will #JoinTheFight and shout #GoFlyers as their team battles for the title.