Let’s Talk Early Returns on Officiating and the New Foul Rules

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on November 13th, 2013

Ken Pomeroy has an interesting post on his website concerning the early effect of the enforcement of new rules regarding contact by the defender. He acknowledges that the sample size is very small, but he basically compared all the Division I games last weekend with a similar number of games to start last season. Scoring is up by about 4.5 points per team while tempo has only increased by about one possession per team. Therefore almost all of the scoring increase is because of an increase in fouls called, which has resulted in nearly nine more free throw attempts per game. With the number of possessions and field goal attempts remaining steady, the tradeoff has come in fewer turnovers, specifically those caused by steals. Overall, it appears that officials are calling fouls for defensive contact that last year resulted in steals.

Karl Hess and Other Officials are Working with Players on New Rules

Karl Hess and Other Officials are Working with Players on New Rules (Photo: flickr.com)

Many coaches have expressed concerns with the new rules, mostly regarding consistent enforcement. That is a reasonable worry since college basketball has no organized governance structure over officials during the regular season, with assignments made by individual conferences. There is, however, a national element with respect to the NCAA Tournament. Those officiating assignments are made by NCAA director of men’s basketball officiating, John Adams, who sounds like a supporter of the new rules. On Monday’s ESPN College Basketball Podcast, Tom Izzo and Bill Self both expressed concerns with how officials will call fouls. There was even a suggestion that the NCAA might want to make an example of the new officiating style by calling the Champions Classic games closely and putting all the stars on the bench with foul trouble. Last night’s games totaled 46 and 53 fouls, respectively, a high number (the season average thus far is 42) but not completely off kilter. And really only Michigan State’s Adreian Payne spent much of crunch time in foul trouble (Duke’s Jabari Parker fouled out late, but Kansas had already surged ahead at that point). John Calipari had a different take, basically echoing what Jay Bilas has been saying: “If you don’t want fouls to be called on you, then just don’t foul.” Sounds simple enough.

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It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XVI

Posted by jbaumgartner on April 12th, 2013

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…. a final game that was so good, so full of quality and runs and drama, that you literally sat in your seat and wondered if it could sustain itself for 40 minutes. The answer was yes, and anyone who wasn’t on the edge of their seat for most of Monday night doesn’t have a pulse. That game was everything we could have hoped for – after an NCAA Tournament that included both upsets and duds to go alongside some raggedy play, this was a title game deserving of the name. What a way to end the year.

I LOVED…. being vindicated in my disgust for Doug Gottlieb. Just take a few quick seconds in case you missed him making a fool of himself on national television (ahem, I mean bigger fool than usual).

I LOVED…. Russdiculousness. You have to give it to Russ Smith – he carried his Louisville team all the way to the Final Four, all the way to the title game with a torrid stretch of scoring, and once he got there he flat-out refused to become a different player. With a lead down the stretch, Russ fouled on the perimeter, dribbled into traffic, took a three-pointer with a new shot clock and 2:30 left, threw crazy passes into the stands and generally tried to give the championship trophy away. But hey, he wouldn’t be Russ if he weren’t a little nutty, and the Cardinals wouldn’t be holding that trophy if he wasn’t on their side.

Russdiculous Lived Up to His Name

I LOVED…. a shootout. It didn’t get any better than that first-half step-off from 22 feet by Spike Albrecht and Luke Hancock. Spike’s might have been more unexpected, but Hancock’s was pure guts in the face of a double-digit deficit with the season on the line. It made for some incredible runs in the first 20 minutes, and it got even better when Albrecht made a cybermove on Kate Upton.

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Big East M5: 01.02.13 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on January 2nd, 2013

bigeast_morning5(2)

  1. One could say that Kevin Ollie’s first Big East season got going in the wrong directionAfter late game heroics for both UConn and Marquette by Ryan Boatright and Junior Cadougan, respectively, the two teams lined up on the wrong sides of the center circle to begin overtime. Enosch Wolf won the tip, and Shabazz Napier had an open look on what should have been his own basket swatted away by Jamil Wilson on what normally would have been a goaltend.  After reviewing the play, the referees did not count the goaltend for UConn as the Huskies shot at the wrong basket.  However, referee Karl Hess later admitted that after letting the players play in the wrong direction, they should have given UConn the two points. UConn would go on to lose to the Golden Eagles by six, 82-76.
  2. Louisville hasn’t had trouble putting points on the board, as the Cardinals are averaging 78.2 points per game so far this season. However, Rick Pitino is still not happy with his team’s defense. Louisville’s 17-point lead over Kentucky was nearly erased as the Cardinals played tentatively on defense due to foul trouble. That doesn’t gel with the high-pressure full court scheme that Pitino likes to use. Another concern is the team’s interior defense — despite the imposing presence of Gorgui Dieng (out for most of December with an injury), the Cardinals are still only 14th among Big East teams in blocked shots, a number that Pitino would surely like to move up.
  3. Jim Boeheim has been the head coach at Syracuse since the nascent days of the Big East conference, so naturally he has many strong feelings and opinions about the league that he credits for his national championship and Hall of Fame induction. In a two-hour interview with USA Today, Boeheim discusses the past and future of the conference, including the near-”warfare” like atmosphere of the coaches meetings in the 1980s, the Big East media contract negotiations which broke down before Syracuse and Pittsburgh made the announcement that they would be moving to the ACC, and, of course, his future plans to coach the Orange. Boeheim keeps his plans close to the vest and marches to the beat of his own drum, but when he does decide to hang the whistle up, he is confident that the program will survive and thrive under Mike Hopkins - “I don’t have any plans on retiring, right now. Could that change? Yeah, I think that could change. But I don’t have any plans on retiring. I know Mike will be the coach and Syracuse will be in great hands… I told every recruit the last five years that I think I am going to coach but don’t know it. Mike will be the coach. And the (recruits) all came. Most recruits don’t care anymore because they only think they will be here one year.”
  4. Seton Hall was sitting solidly on the bubble last March before a shocking 86-58 loss at league dregs DePaul derailed the Pirates’ dancing aspirations. Seton Hall opens its Big East season with the same road trip tonight, looking to improve on an 11-2 record with a win over an improved Blue Demons squad. While some Big East teams may lack some motivation when playing DePaul, Brandon Mobley and Seton Hall have all that they need: “If playing at DePaul is not motivation, then I don’t know what is… Not only did we lose, we got embarrassed and that cost us the NCAA Tournament. We’re going up there with a grudge on our shoulder.”
  5. In news that is not directly related to basketball but may effect the futures of UConn, Cincinnati, and USF, the three schools who appear to be getting left behind by conference expansion and realignment, Boise State will no longer be joining the Big East in football. There is a good chance that San Diego State, which was also set to join for football only, may follow suit, leaving the remaining three Big East members and their future rivals in an increasingly vulnerable conference. In addition, the Mountain West has reworked its television contract which will give increased revenue to teams who make national television appearances. There have even been rumors that the MW could end up raiding the Big East for a school like Cincinnati. The conference carousel goes round and round…
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ACC Weekly Five: 09.04.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on September 4th, 2012

  1. Durham Herald-Sun: In some sad news, Duke basketball legend Art Heyman died this past week at the age of  71. An all-time ACC great, Heyman led Duke to its first Final Four and, in that same season, was the national player of the year along with many other honors. His infamous brawl with North Carolina’s Larry Brown may have been the climactic spark that really ignited the best rivalry in basketball.
  2. Tallahassee Democrat: Michael Snaer‘s swagger seems to have gained a few endorsements as the Blue Ribbon Yearbook named the senior as a first team preseason all-American. The Florida State guard’s big summer that followed his strong junior year seems to be leading into a big autumn. Seminole fans can’t help but hope that Snaer’s hot streak stretches on into the actual basketball season.
  3. CBS Sports: For the time being, it doesn’t appear that North Carolina has committed any NCAA violations in the scandal surrounding the dubious grading practices of a pair of departments. While a series of probes are ongoing and it appears that the investigation may not be concluded for some time, the Tar Heel basketball program, so far, seems to be rule-abiding and compliant. Still, this preliminary finding will surely only fuel the angry fires already burning on NC State fan message boards, who are drafting new conspiracy theories at this very instant.
  4.  Charlotte Observer: In more news that will likely enrage some Wolfpack fans, Karl Hess will be returning to the ranks of ACC officials after sitting out this past year’s ACC Tournament. Hess was reprimanded by the conference due to an incident where he mishandled an off-court situation that resulted in the ejections of former NC State legends Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta because of some overzealous heckling. While it hasn’t yet been determined whether Hess will referee any games in Raleigh this season, it’s probably safe to say that he could very well be in for even more heckling this season.
  5. Terrapin Station: Another homecoming is in the works as former Maryland basketball player Eric Hayes is set to join coach Mark Turgeon’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Hayes had a four-year career with the Terrapins, playing in 133 games and averaging 29.1 MPG during his time in College Park.  While Hayes’ per game stats were not overwhelming, tempo-free stats rightfully recognize that his excellent shooting and efficient all-around play made him one of the more consistently potent aspects of Maryland’s offense for several years. It will be good to see him back on the sideline as a Terp.
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ACC Morning Five: 03.13.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 13th, 2012

  1. Greensboro News-Record and Pulse of the Pack: I don’t like posting message board fodder here, but this appears to have some legs (that said, the letter has been pulled down from State Fans Nation). Reportedly, Debbie Yow wrote an email to several disgruntled fans about the actions being taken in regards to the ACC Tournament controversy. Basically (assuming the letter is true), it sounds like Yow is keeping fans overly informed with the inner workings of a high-major conference. Most of it is also unnecessary: Roy Williams’ “BB gun” comment is what it is, as is the Karl Hess situation. I expect this to disappear completely during the NCAA Tournament, but there’s a slim chance it resurfaces this summer.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: Speaking of NC State, there are two things San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher complimented his upcoming opponent on during a recent news conference. First, the team is filthy in transition; and second, it’s very strong down low. Vegas also took note of NC State’s strong ACC Tournament, making the Wolfpack a one-point favorite over the sixth-seeded Aztecs. It should be a great game, and both teams have a very good chance of advancing fairly far in the Tournament.
  3. Miami Herald: As you probably already know by now, Miami missed the NCAA Tournament. It’s not totally clear by how much, but it’s a safe bet that the Hurricanes were at least past the last four out, as they only managed a two-seed in the NIT (the NCAA now owns the NIT too, so you’d think the seeds would be semi-continuous). It was the school’s first winning season in the ACC. I think the Hurricanes could make a run at the NIT title, as Tennessee is the top seed in their region and appears on paper to be a very favorable matchup for Jim Larranaga’s team.
  4. Washington Post: I don’t know if I agree with this post from Steve Yanda, who claims Virginia needs more production out of its bench. I think Virginia needs production out of the players who get playing time: If there’s an extended bench being used, it needs to be productive; if not, then why should it be? The two players in question are the replacements for Malcolm Brogdon (who broke his foot): Darion Atkins and Paul Jasperson. The two freshmen are going to get chances, as the Cavaliers only have seven available scholarship players.
  5. The Chronicle: Mike Krzyzewski has a history of taking issue with an article from The Chronicle from time to time. If he reads this one, I expect him to take issue with it. I certainly did. Let’s start with the second paragraph: I agree completely that Ohio State punched Duke in the mouth, and the Blue Devils didn’t respond well. I totally disagree that Temple beat Duke because “talent doesn’t make up for not being physical.” The Plumlees are incredibly physical, often to a fault. Temple has one of the best backcourt trios in the country and exploited Duke’s perimeter defense and a strong home crowd. Duke also hasn’t been just “at the center of positive media attention” all year: How many articles have you read panning Duke’s postseason chances, perimeter defense or reliance on three-point shooting? Next up was this paragraph:

    Despite talent, impressive victories, a strong record and No. 2 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament, there seems to be a staggering lack of urgency within this year’s team. Because they have edged by with close wins all season and have only managed to lose six games, maybe this team did not fully understand that losing has serious consequences.

    Duke has talent, but not the talent people are accustomed to seeing. I’m not sure where the team’s “lack of urgency” comes into play, though. Sure, Duke’s second halves are often better than its first halves (especially against the first game against NC State, Miami and Ohio State), but don’t forget the games where Duke has jumped out to an early lead (the first game against North Carolina, Virginia Tech, or at Georgia Tech). Consistency is the problem, which at least in part comes down to whether the threes are falling.

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ACC Afternoon Five: ACC Tournament Friday Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on March 9th, 2012

After a chalky Thursday (outside of Virginia Tech’s big win over Clemson), we get to the good stuff. Friday is when the stakes get higher and the going gets good. Today is critical for NC State and Miami, with Maryland and Virginia Tech hanging around to play spoiler, and everyone else with their eye on the big prize: the championship.

  1. New York Times: Karl Hess drama continues with the story of how Hess, infamous for ejecting two NC State legends from an RBC Center crowd against conference protocol, turned down a chance to referee the ACC Tournament. Though while Hess may be absent, his presence is still being felt. The three referees who officiated the first game of the tournament wore pieces of masking tape on their shoes with the initials “KH.”
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Virginia, a team that had been decimated early in the season by defections has seen it’s depth take a few more hits this week. Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia’s freshman sixth man, underwent surgery for a broken foot on Wednesday and is out for the rest of the season. The Cavaliers had been hoping that Assane Sene, their senior center might be able to return for the tournament, but such hopes were dashed earlier this week when Tony Bennett suspended him for the rest of the season for a violation of team rules. The already shallow Cavaliers may have a tough time sustaining a tournament run with this further blow to bench depth.
  3. Washington Post: While Seth Greenberg‘s Hokies managed the only upset of the day against Clemson, Greenberg’s heart seems to be divided. Post writer John Feinstein details the troubles that have beset Greenberg’s brother, Brad. After NCAA infractions as coach at Radford, Brad Greenberg was unceremoniously drummed out of college coaching, thanks to the dreaded show-cause clause. Now in effective exile coaching in the Venezuelan league, Seth can’t help but feel for his beloved brother.
  4. News and Observer: Leonard Hamilton won a much deserved award for ACC Coach of the Year, but how did he end up rebuilding a dying a program? A system based on sound defensive principles as well as time and luck seem to be the simple recipe that led to slow but sure rise of Florida State. Leonard Hamilton seems like a good coach and even better person. It’s hard not to root for his continued success.
  5. CBS Sports: Though most of the action in the conference is in the tournament, Maryland made some waves on the recruiting trail yesterday. Securing the services of Charles Mitchell, the Terrapins look to greatly shore up their front line with a recruiting class that now features three top-100 recruits. Mitchell joins fellow forwards Shaq Cleare and Jake Layman in the wave of young men that should be descending on College Park to bolster the Terps’ front line.
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ACC Morning Five: 02.24.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 24th, 2012

  1. Duke Basketball Report: It’s not often that you will see someone come to the aid of officials–especially those officials as visible and effervescent as Karl Hess (or Ted Valentine, Jim Burr, Roger Ayers, etc.). But “the Playcaller” does a good job taking a step back and writing a very thoughtful piece on Hess. The thesis is worth extending to almost any official you can name. It’s also a good reminder that officiating is really difficult. The primary difference between high-level high school basketball and college is the speed of the game. Players are faster, better coached, and more experienced. That certainly doesn’t make a game easier to call.
  2. Blogger So Dear: Sitting behind a bench is always a fun experience. You hear things and see things that television cameras miss (nervous tics, profanity-laced tirades and the general “aura” of the team. You can learn a lot from how players leave a game, or how involved the end of the bench is in the game. From the sound of things, Wake Forest is in a decent place. No one likes losing so the positive attitude on the bench is definitely a good sign for Jeff Bzdelik and his staff.
  3. Winston-Salem Journal: In less ideal news (it’s actually amusing these stories were published at the same time) for the Demon Deacons, Ron Wellman apologized to the Miami fan that Jeff Bzdelik swore at during Wake Forest’s loss last week. The good news is the fan seems happy with the university’s response. The bad news: it’s in the news. Coaches swearing at fans behind their benches isn’t good advertising.
  4. Associated Press (via Washington Post): Former Georgia Tech great Javaris Crittenton is back in the news. Crittenton was already out on bail for allegedly killing a woman in a drive-by shooting in August. He was arrested this time for speeding and obstructing justice (he refused to get out of his car).
  5. Cavalier Insider: Jerry Ratcliffe takes a look at the ACC’s bubble. Obviously Duke, North Carolina and Florida State are locks at this point. Virginia is very close to joining that group. But major questions lie in NC State‘s and Miami‘s resumes. Both teams are close, but both need work (NC State needs more than Miami). That’s why next Wednesday’s game at NC State is so huge for both teams.

EXTRA: John Gasaway does a great job looking at the RPI. He looks at its history, both past and present. “The RPI is not the best metric that anyone has come up with so far, but it did represent a great leap forward in 1981.” That’s just it. The RPI was (and still is for many Olympic sports) the best tool available 30 years ago. Now, there are more accurate rating systems. End of story. But you should definitely read this in the meantime. It’s long but worth the time.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.22.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 22nd, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: Calvin Leslie had a career night. But once again it felt like NC State’s lack of depth killed it down the stretch of an 86-74 loss to North Carolina. The Wolfpack did it up for the end of a chapter in their rivalry with the Tar Heels, bringing back the old noisemeter from Reynolds Coliseum with an electric crowd reminiscent of the glory days. My favorite tradition was the Technician distributing satirical “Daily Tar Hell” papers in Chapel Hill. But in the end, North Carolina won its twelfth straight in the series, led by Kendall Marshall who finished with 22 points, 13 assists and no turnovers.
  2. Washington Post: Suffice it to say John Thompson, III, didn’t like Kevin Anderson‘s boycott of Georgetown sports until the schools start playing each other in basketball again. He’s got way too many golden quotes to bring up here. The gist is that Thompson feels threatened but isn’t about to bend on anything. He also clearly disagrees very strongly with Anderson’s handling of the situation, even implying that Anderson doesn’t know what he’s doing. This will certainly be interesting to watch. My guess is that things get quiet now, but I also wouldn’t hold my breath for a GeorgetownMaryland home-and-home series in the next couple of years.
  3. Orlando Sentinel: One difference in the stagnant offense showcased by the Seminoles early in the season and the inconsistent-but-generally-superior offense they’re sporting now is the addition of Ian Miller. He’s probably the team’s most effective scorer because he almost never turns the ball over, which is why he’s putting up double figures from the bench. Leonard Hamilton said, “We’re confident that when Ian goes in the game, we aren’t losing much. In fact, we might be gaining something.” I’d have to agree.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: Barry Jacobs took a minute to look at graduate school transfers, a hot topic for the NCAA. Coaches don’t want players to move around at will because of the turmoil, but it’s hard to argue against a player who’s graduated going on to pursue his or her next degree at another institution. Regardless, this year the ACC has eight graduate transfers with two each at Boston College and Florida State.
  5. Keeping it Heel: [Author's Note: Before I get to the premise of this article (which I agree with), I want to point out the errors in why coaches left. Skip Prosser was not Wake Forest's last coach; it was Dino Gaudio, who was forced out because the athletic department didn't like the direction of the program. Oliver Purnell left Clemson voluntarily because he got a Godfather contract at DePaul (the ultimate retirement contract). Frank Haith also got a raise both money-wise and relevance-wise by moving to Missouri, which he would've certainly taken regardless of NCAA investigations (penalties from which will follow him to Missouri if he's implicated). I also don't know why it's relevant to the rankings that North Carolina beat three Big Ten schools in 2005.] Moving onto the rankings, I agree that Jason Williams’ rankings differ from my own. I’d put the Big Ten on top, the Big 12 second (even though I’m not sold on Missouri or Baylor, but the fact is that both teams have earned their rankings), the Big East third and then it gets tricky. Even right before conference play kicked off, I would’ve put the SEC well before the ACC. But I think the gap is narrowing as the SEC teams beat each other and leave Kentucky alone at the top.

EXTRA: John Adams, Czar of NCAA officials (or coordinator depending on how official you like titles to be) checked in on the NC State ejection situation. His tone makes it sound like he disagrees with the ejections, but thinks the media and fans are taking them too personally. He’s probably right, though I think fans have a right to be upset too. Karl Hess should have given his statement right after the game. He shouldn’t have let two fans get under his skin. It’s part of the job of an official.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.21.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 21st, 2012

Well, the ACC vs. NC State feud isn’t getting any quieter. The conference reprimanded referee Karl Hess for not following protocol, and he released a statement to NC State explaining his reasoning (he apparently thought Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta were getting too close to the scorers’ table). Apparently, Mark Gottfried talked to the students about the incident. I couldn’t get a working link to the Facebook video, but this is the transcript (h/t Luke DeCock):

I think it was weak. It was bad and I thought the official was completely out of line 100%. I’m disappointed, quite frankly, in the ACC, because not only did he throw out two of NC State’s greats, he threw out two of the ACC’s greats, and the league is supporting the official rather than supporting former great players. The former great players, in my opinion, were embarrassed and wronged when they shouldn’t have been. I don’t think you can have rabbit ears like that if you’re a referee and start throwing people out. I was disappointed in the whole thing. So they gave a reprimand tonight to the official, but it was pretty weak in my opinion.

UPDATE: WTVD uploaded the video.

Your move, Swofford.

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Brian Gregory is doing a good job with one area Paul Hewitt struggled by reaching out to Georgia Tech alumni. He’s invited them to games and practices, trying to keep the school’s myriad alumni connected despite a rough inaugural season. Malcolm Mackey, the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leading rebounder, complimented Gregory on his former boss (Tom Izzo) and his new basketball team. Alumni support should help Gregory recruit the Atlanta area, which is crawling with five-star talent.
  2. Washington Post: Georgetown and Maryland should play each other in basketball. Both schools have plenty of history, but for whatever reason the two programs are at a stalemate. Because of the stalemate, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson laid down an ultimatum: The Terrapins won’t be playing Georgetown in any sport until the basketball series questions are worked out. Mark Turgeon sounds game for it, but there’s a lot of coachspeak going on that makes it difficult to assess Turgeon’s real motive.
  3. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Jim Larranaga knows the CAA well. He coached George Mason long before heading to Coral Gables. He’s been to a Final Four. Why not talk some smack and lobby for your NCAA Tournament chances in the meantime? Basically, Larranaga thinks it’s a down year for the CAA, which lacks quality wins. “In short, Larranaga on Monday was like a politician on the campaign trail. He stretched the truth and went negative.”
  4. Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State‘s senior class is having a special year. They just became the winningest class in Florida State basketball history. It’s pretty impressive to see what Leonard Hamilton has done with the Seminole program. He’s changed it from irrelevant to top-tier and a consistent NCAA Tournament presence.
  5. NBC 41: Really bad news for Georgia Tech, who already owns the worst record in conference play. The team’s best player (seriously he was the best scorer, rebounder and facilitator on the team), Glen Rice Jr., has been suspended indefinitely. If the Yellow Jackets already can’t win, there’s no way they can win without him.
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ACC Morning Five: 02.20.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 20th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer and Fayetteville Observer: The story of the weekend was Karl Hess. In a fairly chalky weekend, the notorious official made huge headlines after tossing NC State greats Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta from the Florida State game in Raleigh on Saturday. The two alumni apparently “got under his skin” but Corchiani claimed neither used threats or profanity. Hess declined to talk to reporters after the game. The ACC basically did the same with a statement implying his action was fine but proper protocol wasn’t followed. Needless to say, Debbie Yow isn’t happy at all. This also piles onto the sometimes-valid perception that NC State fans are treated poorly by the ACC (here, losing the home-and-home with North Carolina, etc.). Fans are even calling for Hess to issue an apology and never officiate an NC State game again.
  2. Charlotte Observer: About the only thing we know from the ejection fiasco is that Yow is pulling out her big guns. Not only is she aggressively seeking further comment from the ACC, but she’s also already invited the 1988-89 ACC Champion NC State team against North Carolina this week. Gugliotta and Corchiani just happened to both play on that team. The team will be receiving the inaugural “Wolfpack Unlimited” award. For those of you keeping score at home: Karl Hess kicked out two men whose jerseys hang in the RBC Center without giving any explanation whatsoever. Debbie Yow fired back by creating a new award so that she could honor the Wolfpack legends publicly in the next game. Advantage: Yow.
  3. Eagle Tribune: I could not agree more with the premise of this article. Boston College “needs to win recruiting battles to win ACC wars.” Steve Donahue has proven that he can coach this year (and over the course of his career), but he needs to show some recruiting skills to hang with the coaches in a high major conference. Period. Otherwise his ceiling will be very low. One thing I think this article misses is the impact on Donahue’s recruiting that Syracuse and Pittsburgh joining the ACC will have. I think the additions will help by increasing the conference’s presence in the recruiting fields of the Northeast. But they’re also competitors.
  4. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The more I learn about Reggie Johnson the more I like him. Apparently, Johnson is a huge wrestling fan. He grew up loving The Rock and practicing moves on his poor teddy bear and wearing a championship belt. Now he’s still into it, much to the chagrin of his roommate Malcolm Grant: “It just blows my mind that he loves wrestling. I can’t believe it [...] And he knows that it’s not real. He still goes crazy for it.”
  5. Baltimore Sun: It suffices to say that Mark Turgeon wasn’t happy with his team’s 71-44 losing effort against Virginia (for your reference, the game was tied at the half). After the game Turgeon said, “You can go down our whole list, and if you can tell me one guy that played well today, I’ll argue that you’re wrong. [...] We were 0-14 [players playing well].”

EXTRA: Duke’s Kenny Dennard got big news this week when he was named an ACC Legend, prompting his wife to praise him because now “it’s not just in your mind.”

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ATB: Karl Hess Isn’t Invited to Our Thanksgiving Dinner Either

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2009

atb

Sean McDonough Rips Karl Hess.  Rarely will you hear an announcer publically call out an NCAA basketball official by name for a terrible call, but during the second half of the Vanderbilt-Arizona game tonight in the Maui Invitational, ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough ripped Karl Hess a new one for calling a bizarre quick-trigger technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller for protesting a cheapie on one of his players.  Another blog gives a much more detailed take than we will here, and we’re not really buying the gambling angle they suggest, but McDonough’s comments were without question incendiary and had us thinking that he might even face some sort of internal administrative censure for going after Hess so vigorously.  McDonough’s specific comments were that:

Karl Hess, he was involved in the 54-foul game the other night, and he’s one of these officials, unfortunately, who always finds a way, it seems, to be at the center of the action.  You don’t come here to watch him officiate, but more often than not, he finds himself at the center of attention.  And here he goes again over the scorer’s table to try to sort something out…

We found a video of the situation and posted it below — the relevant parts begin after the 2:00 mark, but there are comments throughout leading up to it.

OT Exotica.  We head into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with a couple of nice overtime battles in exotic locations for tournament titles.  Both were unexpected for completely different reasons.

  • #5 Kentucky 73, Stanford 65 (OT).  Even with Kentucky’s apparent growing pains in terms of defense and turnovers, nobody could have predicted that a team picked tenth in the Pac-10 that already has losses to San Diego and Oral Roberts would be able to hang with John Calipari’s stable of Wildcat stars  in the finals of the Cancun Challenge — even for a half.  Yet there was Johnny Dawkins’ Cardinal with a chance to seal the game away at the line as Jarrett Mann stepped to shoot two with under fifteen seconds remaining.  Problem is… and we see this with struggling teams all the time, Mann missed both.  That gave Kentucky wunderkind John Wall (23/4/5 assts) just enough of an opportunity to slice through the Stanford pressure to get into the lane for a foul and two free throws (which he nailed) with 2.4 seconds left.  This clutch performance came on the heels of another Kobe-style icewater jumper from the right side with thirty seconds left that had tied the game at 61-all.  In the overtime period, Stanford predictably fell apart and Kentucky’s other star freshman guard Eric Bledsoe hit a dagger three to salt the game away with 33 seconds to go.  The Cardinal should be proud of its performance, especially Landry Fields (23/13/3 assts/4 stls), who often appeared to be the best player on the court in this game (yes, just a mirage), but it’s now exceptionally clear that all the squawking Calipari has been doing about how far his team has to go is truth-speak.  The talent for this team to become something special is there, but it’s also painfully obvious that his Cats often rely on God-given abilities (especially on offense) rather than an actual understanding of strategy or the sets.  Decisionmaking by some players, especially DeMarcus Cousins, is also troubling in their naivete and youthful indiscretion.  For example, back to back horrendous decisions by Cousins late in the game to shoot a three (not his shot) and later to purposefully miss a FT attempt in a misguided attempt to get his own rebound only to foul Stanford in the process, exhibits these characteristics.  Kentucky has a chance to be very, very good, and when you have a release valve player like John Wall to cover up mistakes, that can go a long way, but there’s no doubt that UK has a lot of work ahead of it to reach its goals this season.
  • Gonzaga 61, Cincinnati 59 (OT).  The other really good game tonight was in the Maui Invitational finals, where those plucky little Zags from Spokane once again proved to the world that we should never take them lightly regardless of who they lose from year to year.  Mark Few’s team won its first Maui Invitational title behind a balanced scoring effort among its starters — Robert Sacre (14/5), Elias Harris (13/7), Steven Gray (13/7/4 assts), and Demetri Goodson (12/2).  The Zags’ supposed best player, Matt Bouldin, contributed the least offensively (6/11 on 1-7 FGs), yet the others stepped up and held off a very athletic and gritty Cincinnati team that looks nothing like the disaster that Mick Cronin inherited there a few years ago.  The Bearcats’ starting five is extremely athletic and talented, and nobody is going to want to face this team as it continues to develop together (remember, Lance Stephenson is brand new and Cashmere Wright is essentially so).  We were already high on Cincy but now we’re even moreso.  One tiny complaint, though.  When Cashmere Wright decides to take the game into his own hands as he did on the final drive in regulation, Born Ready needs to be ready to get to the rim for the putback and not stand around at the three-point line pouting that he didn’t get the ball.  Just sayin’…

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