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