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What You Need To Know

Posted on: February 12, 2008 10:17 am
Edited on: February 12, 2008 10:18 am
 
AUSTIN, Texas -- The referees cost Villanova in a big way.

Connor Atchley cost Kansas in a big way.

Here's Tuesday morning's edition of What You Need To Know.

Notable game from Monday: Yes, it was technically a foul. And I know officiating is a hard job. But the call at the end of the Villanova-Georgetown game that gave the No. 8 Hoyas a 55-53 victory was one of the worst calls I've ever seen if only because it decided the winner and loser 70 feet from the basket and on a play that would've never ended with Georgetown even getting a shot off because there was only 0.1 second left in regulation. So when Corey Stokes inadvertently bumped Jonathan Wallace the referee should've just let time expire. The referee instead blew his whistle and awarded the free throws that broke the tie, and Villanova coach Jay Wright was wronged again (just like in an earlier loss at the buzzer to North Carolina State).

Notable performance from Monday: Connor Atchley took six shots and made six shots and led No. 11 Texas to a 72-69 victory over No. 3 Kansas before a soldout crowd here at the Erwin Center. The junior forward finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four blocks, though he failed to convince Kansas that anybody should change their opinion about how the Big 12 standings will look at the end of the season. "We're still the favorites," said Kansas guard Mario Chalmers. "We still think we're the best team in the conference."

Notable game scheduled for Tuesday: Valentine's Day is approaching and Purdue is atop the Big Ten standings and there aren't many who predicted things would unfold this way. The Boilermakers are 19-5 overall, 10-1 in the league and ranked 19th in the country heading into this game against Michigan State, which is 20-3 overall, 8-3 in the league and ranked 10th in the country. Matt Painter's Boilermakers have won 10 consecutive games for the first time in nearly 12 years. But their only league loss -- and last loss in general -- came Jan. 8 at Michigan State, and if the Spartans win this rematch it'll vault Indiana into first place in the Big Ten. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Feb 11, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2008 9:31 pm
 

What You Need To Know

Minor difference there - that would have the chance to be a game winning play. What, pray tell, is Georgetown going to do with the guy not even attempting to get a shot off before the buzzer? If he gets around the defender, there isn't enough time for him to pick up his dribble and launch.
Driving the length of the floor and hoping an opposing player fouls you (to get free throws) can be considered every bit as much a "Hail Mary" as heaving up a shot from 60 feet away.  (Also, it's kinda hard to heave something up when you're bumped from the moment you catch the inbound pass.)

If it's tied late and the foul clearly could not have prevented a winning play - as was the case here - then don't call it
So, in addition to handing the officials discretion as to whether or not a given play constituted a foul, you'd also like them to then be responsible for the further decision of whether or not to enforce the rule that they've decided is being violated?  Should referees in other sports have this dual discretion?  Should football officiating crews stop blowing their whistles for false starts, intentional grounding, or late hits if there's under a minute to play and there's a three touchdown margin?

Officials are responsible for trying their best to determine--with consistency across an entire game--what constitutes a foul.  Once they've determined, to their judgment, that a given action constitutes such, it would be irresponsible for them NOT to blow the whistle. 



Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2008 6:42 pm
 

What You Need To Know

Oh, and Gary, MSU is 8-2 in conference so far. One of those three losses to UCLA, who, last I checked, is not in the Big Ten.



Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2008 6:41 pm
 

What You Need To Know

Would anyone be complaining if, at the end of the fourth quarter, with time running down, a cornerback inadvertently--but verily--knocked a receiver out of bounds before he had a chance to catch a Hail Mary pass, resulting in a pass interference call that ultimately set up a chip-shot field goal with one second left?
Minor difference there - that would have the chance to be a game winning play. What, pray tell, is Georgetown going to do with the guy not even attempting to get a shot off before the buzzer? If he gets around the defender, there isn't enough time for him to pick up his dribble and launch.

If it's tied late and the foul clearly could not have prevented a winning play - as was the case here - then don't call it.



Since: Feb 11, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2008 12:23 pm
 

What You Need To Know

(1) "Yes, it was technically a foul."  Listening to the banter on the blogs--this post included--one wonders how fans hope games to be called.  Would anyone be complaining if, at the end of the fourth quarter, with time running down, a cornerback inadvertently--but verily--knocked a receiver out of bounds before he had a chance to catch a Hail Mary pass, resulting in a pass interference call that ultimately set up a chip-shot field goal with one second left? 

(2) As a corollary to the previous point, did you watch the entire game?  The refs didn't "award" anyone this hideous contest.  If anything, they mired it in controversy from the beginning.  Their officiating was inconsistent throughout (and despite what many who only followed this game casually are sure to believe, it actually favored the Wildcats).  Pena fouled out with five minutes left, but he easily could've fouled out with five minutes left in the first HALF if the refs hadn't given him ample leeway to elbow and hip check Hibbert down low in order not to get worked in the paint.  Early in the second half, Jonathan Wallace was being groped out on the perimeter, and the moment he moved his arms, he was whistled for elbowing.  Amid the booing, we turned and looked at the Villanova fans seated near us, one of whom had that, "Eeek, I dunno about that" and the other of whom had a giddy grin, both acknowledging how poor a call that'd been. 

Don't get me wrong, there were a couple of no-calls that went the Hoyas' way--everyone in our section watched Hibbert get away with one blatant over the back, and Pat Ewing risked a flagrant when he (in what appeared to be frustration) knocked the 'Nova player to the ground for his 3rd personal.  But that latter foul--and a later one on Wallace while he was defense a few minutes after--were in obvious response to what the Villanova players were getting away with.  Hardly a screen or drive went by where blue jerseys didn't elbow or throw knees into grey ones going by.  (It was one of the few times where I've seen Wallace lose his cool... though after the two pretty absurd travel calls in the first half and the offensive foul called on him early in the 2nd, it wasn't hard to see why.)

(3) None of the Georgetown fans were satisfied with that win.  Numerous people walked out of the arena in disgust, uttering in frustration that they would've preferred OT to a win we knew would only elicit the same "Georgetown is one questionable block/goaltend, one Roy Hibbert 3, and (now) one controversial officiating decision away from being a middle-of-the-pack Big East team." 

The Hoyas have not been executing their offensive schema nearly as effectively the past several games.  They've been allowing themselves to be totally thrown off kilter by even the most basic press, and they couldn't for the life of themselves solve Seton Hall's penchant for hanging in the passing lanes to create turnovers.  They've not been sufficiently patient on some drives in setting up their backdoor cuts--instead passing the ball endlessly around the perimeter and settling for an ill-advised 3 point attempt (at a time when Wallace, the previous season's Big East leader in 3 pt. percentage, has been in a total shooting funk).  On other possessions, they take too much time to start running a play, and they end up with a turnover as the clock winds down.  Not the efficient, mechanized Georgetown offense that national commentators have come to gush over. 

One oft-overlooked facet of Georgetown's grind-it-out style is that it will (usually) prevail in these close, ugly conference games.  Remember the Florida football team of 2006 that was frequently criticized for its narrow wins over lesser foes like South Carolina?  Urban Meyer eventually felt compelled to rail against the whole notion of "style points," especially coming off a difficult win over a foe that knows your program about as well as another team can. 

I'd feel much better about the Hoyas right now if every game resulted in a Notre Dame-esque victory, where the starters can play for 19 or 20 minutes and the team can still roll to a 20 point win.  But the reality of conference play is that such simply isn't going to happen--not in the Big East.  The 2002-03 Carmelo Anthony-led Syracuse team that went on to win the national title was bogged down with losses to Rutgers, UConn, and Pitt, in addition to scraping out wins over far inferior Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Notre Dame programs.  In fact, the last team to come close to cruising in Big East play--the uber-talented UConn team of 2005-06--ended up fizzling out in the tournament. 

Bottom Line?  Georgetown has a lot to work on.  They've got to return to running their screens and cuts, passing with more crispness, and taking better shot selection.  (The passing was woeful against the Wildcats--telegraphs thrown halfway out of bounds, bounce passes that hit the ground and people's feet...)  They've got to learn how more effectively to beat a press, or they're in trouble come March.  And finally, they can't afford to have Roy Hibbert uninvolved for 4, 5, even 6 offensive possessions in a row.

It wasn't a win to gloat over--but it was a win.  You take it and move on.  But to suggest that the officials decided that game because of one call at the end of regulation is asinine.  If you scrutinized the entirety of the officiating, you'd see that the refereeing crew (I can only hope) was just really off their game... and you'd still be overlooking Villanova's field goal percentage, their inability to convert a rebounding advantage into more points, and the 'Cats' inscrutable decision not to press harder against a team whose had fits breaking more tenacious ones.  It was a game to forget from nearly any vantage point.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com