Saturday, March 29, 2014

Unbelievable - Tony Greene Strikes Again

Here we go again.

Tony Greene once again inserts himself into the end of a critical game with a horrendous call, calling a charge with 3.2 seconds to go on an Arizona player while Arizona trailed by one.

Arizona got the ball back on an out-of-bounds call and had a final shot for the win, but couldn't get a shot off before the horn sounded, and Arizona lost 64-63.

Although Tony Greene didn't absolutely cost Arizona the game, his absurd call at such a critical time hurt them immeasurably.

Comments welcome below.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tony Greene Makes SportsCenter

Well, everyone saw it.  Tony Greene makes the bad call of the year on an obvious block call at the end of the Syracuse - Duke game tonight, and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim goes ballistic and is ejected.

Just a brief commentary:

We explored for a few seasons whether Tony Greene was "on the take" and interest waned as Greene worked fewer and fewer high profile games and his officiating became less and less obvious.

But after a couple of years laying low, Greene was back in the spotlight last year when he worked the 2013 Final Four.  And tonight, with a typically Tony Greene call, he thrust himself back in the spotlight in a major way.

Folks, this was a typical Tony Greene call.  It was absolutely a bad call that enraged Jim Boeheim (Boeheim deserved to be ejected, by the way) and it was a call that decided the outcome of a major game.  In typical Tony Greene fashion, we will never hear him explain his call, and everyone in officiating circles will once again cover up for him.

In the end, Tony Greene may not be "on the take"... but he is, without a doubt, a terrible official.  Perhaps the game's speed has progressed past where his ability lies... perhaps his officiating success has made him so arrogant that he wants the spotlight... perhaps his skills have diminished as he has aged... perhaps he feels that he doesn't need to learn new rules...

But, without a doubt, Tony Greene is an awful official.

Comments welcome.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Louisville blogger questions Tony Greene by name

There hasn't been a lot of Tony Greene discussion recently, but this weekend's Louisville vs. Kentucky matchup in Lexington was officiated by Tony Greene.

And at least one blogger was dissatisfied with Tony Greene's work in the 73-66 Kentucky victory.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Game #54 - #22 Virginia @ Clemson - February 14, 2012

Game #54 - #22 Virginia @ Clemson - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Line - Clemson -1

Result - Clemson wins 60-48 and covers the spread

It's been a while since ITGOTT has had the time to watch, with a discerning eye, a game officiated by Tony Greene. This was Tony Greene's unbelievable 54th Division 1 game worked this season. Tonight Tony Greene, working along with Joe Lindsay and Ed Corbett, made an appearance in Clemson, SC, and the Virginia Cavaliers paid a visit. Clemson entered the game as a 1-point favorite.

Make the Big Call When It Matters

Use Calls (And Non-Calls) To Change The Momentum In Favor Of The Team You Are Helping

And there it was, with 7 1/2 minutes to go in the game - one of the worst and most obvious no-calls you will see this season. Of course, it was Tony Greene failing to make the obvious and important call.

Clemson, clinging to a hard-earned but scant 3-point lead, was defending the Virginia Cavaliers as the Hoos tried to score and cut the lead to one - exactly on the cut line. In a game marked by FEW foul calls and even fewer free throws (at this point in the game, the Cavaliers had shot literally ZERO free throws), Tony Greene eschewed calling an obvious Clemson foul on Devin Booker under the Virginia basket, and naturally Virginia coach Tony Bennett was IRATE as the game went to the under-8 minute TV timeout.

After the TV timeout, ESPNU commentator Jay Williams actually called Tony Greene out by name for missing the obvious call, which was so clear on replay as there was no disputing that Devin Booker raked his arm across his opponent. Sure enough, on the VERY next play following the TV timeout, Devin Booker scores and is fouled to push Clemson's lead to 7 with 6 minutes to play.

After that egregious no-call by Tony Greene, the momentum was clearly in Clemson's hands based on that one play - an obvious missed call by Tony Greene - and soon Clemson's lead was 50-41 and Virginia was forced to call a timeout to stop the momentum. A few desperation fouls at the end were unable to make a difference, as Clemson won 60-48 and easily covered the 1-point spread.

It should be noted that Clemson was only called for four fouls the ENTIRE second half. Amazing.

It is very rare for an announcer - especially an ESPN announcer - to call out poor officiating by name. Yet here was Jay Williams, totally unafraid to call out Tony Greene while a replay of the obvious foul Tony Greene chose not to call was shown. Jay knew that visual evidence showed Tony Greene failing to call one of the most obvious calls an official will ever see.

When an official make a single terrible call that changes the momentum in a close game, and aids one team to cruise to a spread-covering victory - and when the call is SO bad and SO momentum-changing that even ESPNU's Jay Williams calls the official out by name - it's safe to ask...

Is Tony Greene "on the take"?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Game 14 - #5 North Carolina @ #1 Kentucky - December 3, 2011

Game - #5 North Carolina @ #1 Kentucky - Sunday, December 83, 2011

Line - Kentucky -5

Result - Kentucky wins 73-72, but North Carolina back-door covers the 5-point spread

Today's game is the first Tony Greene-officiated game of the 2011-2012 season that ITGOTT has been able to watch and analyze with a discerning eye. Kentucky fans LOVE to criticize Tony Greene for his poor officiating, and some (perhaps rightly) claimed that Greene definitely did NOT have a friendly whistle for former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie. But ITGOTT isn't about Tony Greene favoring, or disliking, any certain team - it's raising the question of whether Tony Greene is "on the take." If you read ITGOTT regularly, you know that there are just as many Tony Greene-Kentucky games where Tony Greene appears to favor Kentucky as their opponent.

And today's game wasn't about Tony Greene. It was about Ron Groover and his horrendous officiating in both directions. Groover isn't a good enough official to even BE "on the take." He's just a disgrace to officiating and the SEC.

To the game: After a frenetic first 6 minutes that saw Kentucky sprint to a lead, and UNC sprint right back, the first questionable call of the game was made.

The Charge/Block Call. It Can Go Either Way So Make Sure It Goes Your Way

Although it appeared that Ron Groover made the call (Tony Greene was the trail official and out of camera range), Groover made an atrocious-at-best charge call on Kentucky, wiping off a basket and handing the ball to the Tar Heels. It should be noted that Ron Groover, in officiating circles, is often considered the worst official in the SEC - and also, oddly, given the charge/block call he made here, an blatant Kentucky homer.

Then with 8:48 to go in the first half, Ron Groover - irrespective of if he's favoring a team or not - eschews making a call on North Carolina's PJ Hairston when he obviously rakes the arm of a driving Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The force of Henson's arm on Kidd-Gilchrist's arm, seen clearly on replay, is so great that Kidd-Gilchrist immediately grabs him shoulder in pain, even though Hairston was clearly NOT trying to injure Kidd-Gilchrist. Attention SEC: this is why you can't have terrible officials like Ron Groover working your games. With the size, speed, and talent playing in a major league, Groover's inability to keep up will eventually result in a player getting seriously hurt. Fortunately, it appears that Kidd-Gilchrist wasn't seriously hurt here.

Swallow Your Whistle When Things Are Going Your Way

Use Calls (and Non-Calls) To Change The Momentum in Favor of the Team You Are Helping

After Kentucky had sliced a 9-point UNC lead to just 4 and seemed to have the momentum, with the capacity Rupp Arena crowd roaring its approval with just over 5 minutes to go in the first half, a scrum occurred under the Kentucky basket. Although the Cats got off 4 shots (and appeared to have been fouled on at least 2 of them), it was the Tar Heels who eventually ended up with the ball. The officiating crew of Tony Greene, Mike Nance, and Ron Groover, watching closely, chose not to call ANY of the fouls. UNC's ensuing three pushed their lead back to 7 and quelled the momentum the Wildcats had.

The Charge/Block Call. It Can Go Either Way So Make Sure It Goes Your Way

With just over a minute to go in the first half and UNC enjoying a 7-point lead, Ron Groover makes what will certainly be the worst charge/block call any official makes all year. Kentucky's Doron Lamb drives the baseline and releases a floater over UNC's Tyler Zeller, which drops through the hoop. Zeller slides in and makes contact with Lamb AFTER Lamb has not only released the shot, but also landed on his feet! Yet Ron Groover makes a charge call so egregious that even the officiating sycophant Clark Kellogg proclaims it a bad call. Again, attention SEC: Ron Groover is not a good enough official to work your games!

Then with 6:08 to go, and with a Kentucky spurt giving the Wildcats a 3-point lead, Ron Groover - sitting RIGHT under the basket and looking RIGHT at the contact - does NOT call a charge on Tyler Zeller, who charged directly into Kentucky's Darius Miller as Zeller drove down the lane. This was yet another no-doubter under any circumstance, and given Groover's charging call AGAINST Kentucky earlier in the game that was absolutely laughable, this non-call makes Groover himself just absurd.

Make The Big Call(s) At The End

With 4 minutes to play, Kentucky led by 5 - right on the number Vegas provided us.

And with 2:16 to play and Kentucky leading by 4, Ron Groover steps in with a big call on a push-off against Kentucky. Was it a bad call? No. Was it a BIG call? Yes. Did it help North Carolina? Yes. The only "on the take"-worthy comment to make is that it COULD have been ignored were Groover helping Kentucky.

Sure enough, Kentucky went on to win 73-72, but failed to cover the 5-point Vegas spread, giving UNC a back-door cover their fans will hate but bettors will love.


Kentucky wins the game. North Carolina covers the spread. Tony Greene's officiating not particularly suspicious. Ron Groover's officiating disgraceful.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Curtis Shaw Effect

Back to the chronicles of Tony Greene when ITGOTT has more time, but an officiating incident must be noted from last night's little-seen Conference USA game in Greenville, NC, between the homestanding East Carolina Pirates and the visiting UTEP Miners, coached by former big-time (Iowa State, Southern Cal, and the NBA) coach Tim Floyd.

Floyd, who, given his previous stops, probably feels like he's slumming it in rural eastern North Carolina, was ejected in what the usually-spot-on blog Ballin Is A Habit called "one of the uglier incidents" of the college basketball season, when he was ejected by Jeb Hartness. The low-quality video, and the commentary of Ballin Is A Habit, is linked here:

Here's why this is significant:

1. While the video doesn't show what Tim Floyd did to earn the first technical from Jeb Hartness, we see veteran official Steven Pyatt working to both reclaim the control that Hartness's call had removed and to calm an irate Tim Floyd. Then, as Floyd voices his frustration to Hartness as the technical free throws are administered, Hartness T's Floyd up again and runs him, clearly inciting more difficulty in a situation where it wasn't necessary. Then to top it off, the incensed UTEP assistant Phil Johnson is ALSO run. The video also shows that Steven Pyatt (working with another veteran, Bryan Kersey) position themselves between the UTEP coaches and Jeb Hartness, in what looks like an unstated message of, "Yeah, we know he messed up, but guys, just let it go..."

2. So who is Jeb Hartness? Well, we know two things.

First, from the video, we know that he appears, at least last night, to be a small man who takes umbrage at petty grievances - especially by coaches who are relatively well-known (Floyd is probably THE most well-known coach in Conference USA) - and then demonstrates that he is in charge by issuing quick, unnecessary technical fouls that do more to incite the ire of a coach than to calm an overheating in-game situation or elicit a higher level of game decorum.

Second, we know that Jeb Hartness is a relatively young official who is working his way up through the ranks to the highest levels of college basketball officiating. He has worked more games in the Ohio Valley Conference than any other conference, the conference where Curtis Shaw had been the game assignor until Shaw took the position of Director of Officials for the Big XII Conference this season. Guess what? Hartness has, for the first time, been working Big XII games. The inimitable Curtis Shaw apparently takes care of his own.

And by demonstrating rabbit ears, a thin skin, a need to visibly demonstrate his control in a game where restraint would have been better served, and issuing unnecessary technical fouls that incite problems rather than restore order, Jeb Hartness has proven that he's not only one of Curtis Shaw's "own," but that he's cut from the same unfortunate mold.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Game 51 - Tennessee @ #18 Kentucky - February 8, 2011

Game - Tennessee @ #18 Kentucky - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Line - Kentucky -9 1/2

Result - Kentucky wins 73-61 and covers the spread

Tony Greene is confounding. Although a series of calls in the first half would have CONVINCED a viewer that the crew working tonight's game - including Tony Greene, Ted Valentine, and Mark Whitehead - were totally in the bank for Tennessee, when it came to crunch time and calls COULD have tipped the spread to Tennessee without affecting the outcome, the officials stood down and allowed the game to (apparently) end without interference.

To wit:

The Charge/Block Call. It Can Go Either Way So Make Sure It Goes Your Way

Make Calls From Out Of Position

So TWICE early in the game - with about 13 to play in the first half, and with 11 1/2 minutes to play in the first half - Tony Greene did BOTH of these things. TWICE !!! It's almost hard to believe, but within 90 seconds, Tony Greene TWICE stepped in from out of position to whistle a Kentucky player for a questionable charge.

Further, with 7:43 to play in the first half, Ted Valentine did the SAME THING, but this time he stepped in, drew attention to himself as only TV Teddy can do, and called Kentucky for a terrible - and I mean truly terrible - blocking foul. In fact, during his SEC-contract-mandated in-game interview with ESPN's Shannon Spake during the ensuing time-out, Kentucky coach John Calipari backhandedly criticized Valentine's absurd call by saying that what his team needed to do to be successful was to continue to "take charges" like they just did. A good laugh, and well-played, Coach Calipari.

Watching the game, ITGOTT was convinced that this officiating crew - if they were, in fact, "on the take" - was in the bag for Tennessee.

Yet, as Kentucky's huge 19-point first half lead dwindled to just 5 after halftime, and then ballooned back up to double digits to cover the spread, the officials didn't seem to do anything out the ordinary. No late calls to tip the spread to Tennessee. No questionable calls to alter the momentum. No calls from out of position. Not even any terrible calls, Mark Whitehead's ludicrous blocking call on Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins with about 12 minutes to play in the game and with the Wildcats leading by 16... hardly "crunch time". It was strange, and while the officials did NOT appear, in the end, to tip the spread or ultimately be "on the take," it certainly raised two important questions:

1. If Tony Greene is NOT "on the take," is he just a TERRIBLE official?

2. Must TV Teddy Valentine always preen and draw attention to himself with his officiating?