Eye of the Hurricane

March 8, 2008

UM vs. ACC referees. Or was it FSU? Couldn’t tell.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cubscanes @ 5:01 pm

Control of the game started before the contest even began. After a 16-minute delay due to the shot-clocks malfunctioning, the players took the court but it was clear their part during this eventual three-act play was secondary.

Of FSU’s 34 second-half points, 22 were from the charity stripe. When 65 percent of a team’s offense in a period is essentially free points, it’s either because the game is a street brawl or because the referees are exerting their influence on the score. For a rivalry game, this was more London gentlemen’s meeting than playground pickup game.

Typically I hate criticizing officiating as it’s far easier to blame the fellas in stripes than it is to look in your own locker room, but when there are 66 free-throw attempts between the teams, something’s up. For the refs to control the pace as they did was unnecessary.

It wasn’t Toney Douglas this time, it wasn’t even Ralph Mims’ 25 points that sunk the Canes against their hated rivals. It was the fact that seemingly every trip down the floor was interrupted by a whistle. Even if it was just to get those problematic shot clocks to work.

There was no semblance of rhythm to this game. There was no quick exchange of fast breaks. Too often it was a whistle on a questionable reach-in where the offensive player didn’t even break his stride. Or an off-the-ball foul that left you scratching your head when you couldn’t find a player lying on the court.

With 11:30 left in the second half, FSU was in the double bonus. The double bonus with less than 9 minutes played. At some point, that’s not basketball. That’s a free-throw shooting contest.

I’ll give these ACC refs credit; it was a pretty fairly called game, even though FSU attempted 18 more free throws than UM. And nevermind the fact that that on the final three-point attempt, Jack McClinton’s hand was clearly hit just as he released the shot. But when it takes more than 2 and a half hours to play 40 minutes, even discounting overtime, you have to scratch your head.

To me it comes down to wanting control. A whistle around your neck might as well be a king’s scepter in your hand. These ACC officials can’t stand to see anyone take their precious spotlight. There always seems to be something, whether it’s kicking out a fan for visually, not verbally, trying to offer $20 for a few calls to go their way, or spending 30 minutes trying to level a rim that’s off at most a degree, or calling 53 fouls in today’s 45-minute game (for non-math majors, that’s more than a foul a minute).

You’re an official in a major conference in a game that has major implications. You’re not reffing a soccer game between 3-year-olds where the parents have yet to become control freaks. Grow a thick skin. Take the plastic pacifier out of your mouth so it doesn’t make that shrill sound every time you exhale. Let the players do their job and you do yours. Wait, isn’t your job to enforce the rules while letting the players actually play?

All I’ll say is, thankfully this game was not pivotal to the Hurricanes’ NCAA Tournament hopes.

Corey Erb may be contacted at c.erb@umiami.edu.


1 Comment »

  1. Sounds like your team hacked into a loss and perhaps out of the tourney. They were exposed to a mediocre team TWICE and if the lose their next game, say “Hello NIT”.

    Comment by John Vino — March 8, 2008 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

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