Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The loser always complains

Years ago my father would sit and complain about the officiating during UK basketball road games.  He would say that you could take the sports section of the newspapers, pick out the home team on all college basketball games, and 90% of them would be winners.  It didn't matter who was playing at all.  It just mattered where they were playing.  I tested that theory a few times and while it may not have been 90% it was clear that most of the time the home team won.  Was the officiating bias?  Who knows but I would like to think it isn't.

Last night we all got to witness a slugfest in Starkville, MS.  It ended with a UK overtime win but the real story is all the whiners that are complaining about the officiating and the truly classless fans who threw water bottles on the floor.

Was the officiating bad?  Yes, but was it one-sided.  I don't think so.  Here are some highlights:

  • Yes, the goal-tending call could have gone either way but you try and make that call correct 100% of the time at game speed.  UK had a similar play a few games ago that was called.

  • Some guy on the Rupps Rafters forum posted images from his DVR that clearly show that the charge called on Patrick Patterson late in the game was not a charge at all.

  • Varnado said in post-game comments that he thought his fourth foul was suspect.  It may have been but how about the no-call when you were completely draped over a UK player in the second half?  That could have been called intentional but was not even called at all.

  • And what about the foul called on Cousins when video replay clearly showed he didn't even touch the guy at all?

The point is that in a fast-paced, very competitive game like that there are going to be missed calls.  You are asking 3 *humans* to keep their eye on something like 400 square feet of court and catch everything that goes on, not to mention keeping your eye on the shot clock in case it doesn't start, and making sure the score is correct, and making sure substitutions are done correctly, and..  Well, you get the point.  It's hard.  But the good thing is that over a 40 minute game the calls will normally balance out (sort of -- see my opening remarks about home court advantage).

Yes, I'm a UK fan and I'm glad they won.  But I'm also certain that if Varnardo doesn't foul out and if their leading scorer plays it could have been very different.  Mississippi St. is a good team and I'm glad we don't have to play them in Starkville again this season.

I'm not complaining about the refs because my chosen team won.  The next time UK loses I'm sure I'll complain about the officiating.  You see -- the loser always complains.


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