This stuck ball represents ESPN broadcast issues Tuesday, where they went to a commercial break during a TV timeout the referees somehow didn't call.

Tuesday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge NCAA basketball clash between Louisville and Purdue saw those watching at home miss some of the action. After a Louisville shot fell out of bounds with 3:44 left in the first half, ESPN went to commercial with Purdue leading 21-17, apparently anticipating a TV timeout. But the on-court officials didn’t call it:

The game then returned partway through another commercial, with the score now 21-20 Purdue. A black screen showed at first while play-by-play announcer Dave Flemming apologized for the delay and explained that the Cardinals’ V.J. King had hit a three:

“They never went to the timeout, which they’re supposed to do, so we missed just a possession back and forth. It’s 21-20 now after the King three-pointer for Louisville.”

Oh, and that possession ended with the ball stuck between the rim and the backboard. And the officials then decided to take the TV timeout:

That’s a weird situation. By rule, the officials should have gone to the TV timeout on the first play, as a TV timeout is supposed to be called at the first dead-ball break after the 4:00 mark. And while it can be argued that ESPN should have been a little more careful cutting away and waited until it was clear the officials were actually calling the timeout, a quick cut at a pre-ordained break point has its own merits, leaving the announcers more time to get back into the game post-commercial before the ball’s actually inbounded.

This wasn’t a discretionary call; it’s a timeout that’s supposed to be called, and it’s unfortunate for ESPN (and for those watching) that they missed some action because of the officials’ error. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot missed. But we can still add this to the long annals of game action missed thanks to commercial breaks or technical difficulties.

[Jay Rigdon on Clippit]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.