Wretched Refs: How Much Did the Officiating Hurt Syracuse in the Loss?

How much did the whistles affect the Orange against the Buckeyes in Boston?

New York Times

Syracuse didn’t lose Saturday’s game to Ohio State because of the refs. The Buckeyes made more shots down the stretch and SU couldn’t do enough on offense with Kris Joseph and the always confident Dion Waiters struggling. But the officiating in this regional final was a joke and it’s part of a growing trend of poor game management in college basketball.

Early on the game was moving at a quick pace, and it seemed we were all in for a wlel played, up and down evening. But the referees’ whistles started and never stopped. The numbers from the game are simply staggering: 49 fouls called against just 43 field goals made. The Buckeyes had a staggering 42 free throw attempts (more than one per minute), the Orange took 25. Both teams were in the bonus with more than 13 minutes left in the second half.

Scoop Jardine made sure to say the refs had not cost SU a chance at the Final Four:

“Give Ohio State a ton of credit. We’re not gonna blame the refs. We feel like we had a chance to win this game and we just came up short.”

Scoop is correct, but the constant whistles totally altered the game with several key players in foul trouble. Sullinger had two quickies in the first half, and the second foul on him was a phantom call. Dion, Rak, Southerland and Keita were all in foul trouble for SU by the first half with some suspect calls.

There was also the technical on Jim Boeheim which he wasn’t given an explanation for:

“First one I’ve gotten in about 3 years, though.”

While Boeheim wouldn’t elaborate on the officiating and gave a simple “no comment,” the officials did say his T was given for leaving the coaches box and gesturing. Seems like a questionable time to police that considering coaches often stray outside the box with some (Buzz Williams) spending a large portion of the game on the court.

Boeheim’s only reference to the officiating was a signature line dropped at the end of an answer:

“I guess we fouled them too much tonight.”

There were simply too many questionable calls, from out of bounds plays, several touch fouls and the T on Boeheim. Referees are always unpopular, but the rising frustration with college basketball is deafening. Both fans and credentialed media blew up Twitter during the game about the officials putting themselves at the forefront. Several prominent media members took multiple shots at the refs and rightfully so.

SU didn’t lose directly because of the whistles, but there seems to be a lack of quality  officials in the NCAA. This was a regional final, and the best should have been on display. Perhaps this will be cause for review, but until then fans will be forced to suffer through an atrocity like Saturday night. Please make it stop NCAA.

Posted: Alex Plavin

6 Comments on this Post

  1. OrangeCrush22

    I’m a huge ‘Cuse fan and that’s why i am so bias when i make this argument, but the refs from what i saw and read def cost ‘Cuse the game and stole the show.

    Listen everyone can make the argument that refs don’t cost the game. It’s taking the “higher road.” But poor officiating in all sports can make/break games. This game was a classic example. I thought ‘Cuse was the better team, but i do like Ohio St. Big fan of Kraft and Sullinger. But when i read these lines: 49 total fouls, 29 against ‘Cuse and 20 against OSU..and OSU 31-42 from the line while ‘Cuse is 20-25??!! Are you F$@&%*! kidding me??!! How is that not the deciding factor??

    Ex: With 5-7 minutes left in the game ‘Cuse down 1 or 3 points, OSU possession, Sullinger gets the ball in the low post, dribbles towards the foul line for what looks to be a baby hook, but trips over his own feet before and Baye is called for a foul. Sullinger hits both free throws and ‘Cuse is down 5. That’s 2 points that OSU is given by refs…

    Next OSU possession, Baye and Sully are battling for position in the paint, Whistle blown, Baye called for another foul for hand checking. Are you kidding me?!! What is Baye supposed to do? He cant battle for that space against a guy who is physically bigger??!!!

    Lets not even go to the Technical on JB. JB “Tee’d” up for being out of the coaching box arguing a bad call on Triche??!!!

    Did ‘Cuse miss opportunities…absolutley, but the refs were no help. Pathetic and it’s too bad because even without Fab Cuse was alot better.

  2. Carlton

    6ot game vs uconn ‘cuse got called for 28 fouls. In 40mins they got called for 29! Yes the refs lost them the game. If they get called for half that they win by 10 end of story. Its sad our team been on the short end of awful calls in march. Its becoming bullshit. I hope that the school goes after the ncaa. What about of hot garbage!

  3. Dr. Know

    You’re kidding, right? They could have been the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 if it weren’t for horrible calls at the end of the round 1 game!!!

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