Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: How do I know college basketball is starting? College football is winding down, there is a crisp chill in the air in Chicago and Duke was handed another game by the officials. Honest question: When, if ever, will this stop? Duke should have lost the game against Rhode Island if it wasn’t for the way the game was officiated. Not only is it the disparity in free throws, but the phantom calls that always seem to go Duke's way (and in some instances the officials make sure time actually stands still for Duke, but I digress). That call Kyle Singler got late was BS. Let the players decide the game.
I realize this is the consensus opinion, that Duke "gets all the calls."
But I've never bought into the theory.
Obviously, Duke goes to the free throw line a lot; I won't deny that. But the Blue Devils spend a lot of time attacking the basket, and when you attack the basket you get fouled. As for the Singler play, I'm assuming you're talking about the drive and spin into the lane with 19.4 seconds remaining. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was in a hotel room in Gainesville that didn't have ESPNU, so I was watching the game on my computer, which means the picture wasn't great. So perhaps there's a replay that shows Singler clearly didn't get fouled. If so, send it to me. But what I saw was Singler drive, get into the paint, make a motion for a runner or layup and then his arms stopped in mid-air while the ball flew out of bounds.
From my experience, that's usually a sign that there was a foul.
When the ball keeps going that typically means the arm or hand was hit.
When the ball stops or goes down that typically means the ball was hit.
So from my vantage point, it looked like a foul. And just so you know, free throw disparity is about the worst way to try to figure out whether the refs favored one team or another. Style of play usually dictates free throws, not favoritism. And I would just make this final point: Pretty much every Duke game is on national television, and do you know what officials hate more than Duke losing? They hate looking stupid. And if they favored Duke they would look stupid because there's no hiding, which is my way of saying I do not believe a conspiracy exists.
As for that clock incident a few years ago, I have no explanation.
That was horrible.
I won't defend it.
But the rest of the stuff, I think, is mostly a perception rooted in nothing.