Thursday, November 26, 2009

Game 11 - Fredonia State @ Davidson; Nov. 25, 2009

Davidson, NC, is a lovely, quaint little town just north of Charlotte.

It's also where Tony Greene officiated last night, in a totally irrelevant game between Fredonia State and Davidson. No televison, obviously, so no review from ITGOTT.

ITGOTT predict that Tony Greene will be in Orlando this weekend, officiating games at the Old Spice Classic tournament.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interesting comments on Karl Hess by Sean McDonough on ESPN

During tonight's Maui Classic 5th place game between Vanderbilt and Arizona, Karl Hess called a bizarre technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller while Vanderbilt held a scant 2-point lead with about 6 minutes to play. Miller appeared to be simply calling for a "three-second call" on Vanderbilt, and spent much of the rest of the game claiming this to the officiating crew.

Vanderbilt, a 5-point favorite, used the momentum generated by that technical foul call to pull away and secure a 12-point victory, covering the spread.

ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough, working with Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas, excoriated Karl Hess for injecting himself into the game, apparently something McDonough feels is unnecessary from college basketball officials. McDonough identified that Hess has a tendency to do this and called Hess's actions "unfortunate." Further, McDonough piled on as Hess explained some call to Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, going so far as to say something like "and here comes Karl Hess now, injecting himself into the game even more as he approaches the press table."

Karl Hess appears to be a thin-skinned guy who rubs everyone the wrong way, and McDonough simply pointed out, by name, an official with a prima donna temperament and a need to control others when they balk.

Later, with the game securely in hand and the spread no longer close, another official called a terrible foul call on a clean block by Vanderbilt's AJ Ogilvy. Both Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas began piling on, but never naming the official, about how NBA referees are full-time refs and college officials are not. Further, Bilas espoused the theory that, since NBA referees are quicker to eject complaining coaches, more decorum exists in the NBA game and college coaches are too "demonstrative." Not sure whether we agree with this at ITGOTT, but we like that two respected ESPN analysts such as Raftery and Bilas were willing to discuss the officiating in a negative light.

But what we really like here at ITGOTT is that Sean McDonough singled out Karl Hess for his need to inject himself into the flow of the game, thus drawing attention to himself. McDonough is exactly right - watch how Karl Hess finds a way to be in the spotlight as the season progresses.

And while you're at it, watch to see if Karl Hess might be on the take. His technical foul call tonight definitely helped Vanderbilt cover the spread.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Game 10 - Florida State @ Florida; Nov. 24, 2009

GAME: Florida State @ Florida; Gainesville, FL; Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LINE: Florida -2 1/2

RESULT: Florida covers, winning 68-52

Just like Huey Lewis and the News, Tony Greene apparently needed a "couple days off." ITGOTT half expected to see Tony Greene turn up in one of the pre-conference tournaments like Maui or Cancun after his brief respite, but instead he turned up officiating a vanilla inter-conference, intra-state match-up in Gainesville, FL.

Perhaps the most easily followed adage ITGOTT can imagine for an official “on the take” is:

When Things Are Going Your Way, Swallow Your Whistle

With just a 2 ½ point spread favoring the home-standing Gators, it was easy to imagine the crowd getting behind their team vs. their rivals, and momentum swinging strongly toward the Florida side. And it did.

Of course, they had to have a little help from the men in stripes.

Get Major Players On The Team You Are Not Helping In Early Foul Trouble

Florida State's Chris Singleton scored his team's first 10 points, and Florida State led 10-8. Then the officials intervened, and called two quick fouls on Singleton, neutering him for the rest of the half. But back to the overall theme.

As soon as the game began tonight, Florida State began making turnovers. And more turnovers. And more turnovers. And tonight’s officiating crew of Tony Greene, Mike Kitts, and Ted Valentine certainly weren’t going to step in and call a hand check or something away from the ball to stop the carnage. They had a lot of opportunities, what with physical play on both ends resulting in 16 Florida State turnovers in the first half, but they only called 7 total fouls during a lightning fast half of basketball (only 3 on Florida).

An 11-0 Florida run, uninterrupted by any calls, broke open the game early and Florida eventually took a huge 20-point lead into the halftime break.

With the 2 ½ point spread easily covered, this game could simply have been a matter of running out the clock. But with Singleton back in the game, and playing aggressively, the Seminoles cut the lead to 12 within the first 5 minutes of the second half and all the way down to a 5-point lead with 12 minutes to play.

The Charge/Block Call - It Can Always Go Either Way, So Make Sure It Goes Your Way

Use Calls To Stop Momentum Of The Team You Are Not Helping

So the men in stripes stepped in, with Ted Valentine calling a key charge call on FSU as they drove for a bucket that would have cut the lead to 3, and then with Mike Kitts calling a push on a Florida player as he snagged a key rebound. These two calls definitely changed the momentum of the game, and the ensuing 6-0 Florida run pushed the lead to double digits.

Then Ted Valentine called Chris Singleton's third call on a great block that should have been a no-call. Even the TV commentators called this a "late call by Ted Valentine" and additionally said that Florida was the "beneficiary" of said call. Tack on a free throw and another bucket, and the Florida lead was back to 14. Then tack on yet another bucket and one, and Florida's 12-0 run after the momentum-changing charge-block call extended the Gator lead to 17. Florida maintained this advantage for the last 7 minutes and went on to win by 16, 68-52.

A stat fact: in the first half, with Florida pulling away, the officials made only 7 total foul calls (4 on FSU, 3 on Florida). In the second half, with Florida State making a run to threaten the spread, the officials asserted themselves much more and made an unbelieveable 24 total foul calls (14 on Florida State, 10 on Florida). And Florida's cover of the spread, in fact, was preserved.

What's interesting here is that Tony Greene wasn't involved in any of the calls we detailed, which stopped Florida State's second-half momentum and sealed up the cover for Florida. Is anyone else on the take? Perhaps multiple officials in cahoots? We'll see how many more games involve both Tony Greene and Ted Valentine or both Tony Greene and Mike Kitts, but ITGOTT can only effort to monitor Tony Greene completely (and undoubtedly we'll miss a few games as the season unfolds).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Game 9 - Florida State @ Mercer - Nov. 21, 2009

Tony Greene worked his 9th game of the 2009-2010 basketball season this afternoon in Macon, GA. The ACC's Florida State Seminoles traveled to Macon to play the Mercer Bears of the Atlantic Sun Conference. There was an obvious talent differential in this game, with Florida State just being much larger, much faster, and much more talented than Mercer.

ITGOTT couldn't find a betting line on the Mercer-Florida State game anywhere, so a review of Tony Greene's officiating in that light is sort of pointless.

However, there were two officiating trends that ITGOTT noticed, both of which are possible strategies used by an official "on the take."

If The Team You Are Helping Has Bigger Players, Let The Game Be More Physical

This was certainly the case today, as Florida State was just MUCH larger than Mercer. Early on, the play was very, very physical, and Florida State was blocking shot after Mercer shot inside the three-point arc. Pretty quickly, a 6-4 Mercer lead turned into a 21-7 Florida State advantage, and the Seminoles had a commanding lead early. In addition, the physical play allowed by the officials seemed to rattle Mercer, and they were unable to hit many shots at all; the TV commentators repeatedly claimed that "the size of Florida State is intimidating." Had the play been called tight, for example, early on, clearly Mercer would have been favored, but this was not the case.

If You Are Favoring A Heavy Road Favorite, Don't Let The Home Team's Fans Get Into The Game And Motivate Their Team

Mercer has a history of upsetting major conference teams, and this was perhaps their most obvious chance to do that in recent memory. An NCAA-tournament team in Florida State comes to Mercer's little on-campus gym on Homecoming weekend... the game had been sold out for a while... just a LITTLE run by the Mercer Bears could have resulted in a flood of emotion from the partisan crowd. Instead, there was no emotion at all from the crowd, and the Florida State rout was on. Florida State eventually won 89-50.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Game 8 - Syracuse vs. North Carolina - Nov. 20, 2009

GAME - Syracuse vs. North Carolina in New York, NY; Friday, November 20, 2009

LINE - North Carolina -1

RESULT - Syracuse covers, winning 87-71

Tony Greene's 8th officiating outing of the 2009-2010 basketball season occurred tonight in the finals of the 2K Sports Classic in New York City. Since he worked last night's semi-finals, ITGOTT was confident he would be working either the championship or consolation tonight, and we were prepared to watch closely.

North Carolina, according to the Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook, was a 1 point favorite in this match-up. The game opened as a pick-em, so there wasn't a lot of movement of the line.

With A Small Spread, Keep The Team You Are Helping Close Early

Use Calls To Stop Momentum Of The Team You Are Not Helping

Get Major Players On The Team You Are Not Helping In Early Foul Trouble

The game opened with a quick Syracuse run, as they pretty efficiently (and without any close calls) opened an 8-0 lead in the first 3 minutes. Tony Greene then asserted himself, calling a very questionable blocking call on Syracuse's Andy Rautins as North Carolina's Will Graves lowered his shoulder driving to the hoop. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was incensed, and after North Carolina took a 13-11 lead on an "and one" by Ed Davis with 15 minutes to go, the early momentum that Syracuse had was totally evaporated... and it all started on that questionable blocking call on Andy Rautins.

This call served two masters: 1. The call stopped Syracuse's early momentum, preventing them from running away with the game. 2. The call put an early foul a good Syracuse player, Andy Rautins. When Rautins was called for a legitimate charge with 16 minutes to go, he was thusly in early foul trouble. Getting a star in early foul trouble is a great strategy for officials who may be on the take, and Tony Greene did this without even making the second call, made by the execrable Mike Stuart when Rautins legitimately charged!

(Note: Mike Stuart's absurd histrionics in making that call with 15:55 to go in the first half - blowing the whistle multiple times to draw attention to himself before making his indication, and then running in to flamboyantly point at Rautins, laying supine in the lane, is VERY bad officiating form. Stuart should know better, and this peacock-esque preening for attention not only has no place in college basketball, it should cost him post-season assignments if he continues to do it throughout the season. Consider yourself warned Mike Stuart: ITGOTT will have its eyes on you, too, from now on.)

With 14:11 to go, Tony Greene called a second foul on Syracuse's Wesley Johnson, meaning that TWO Syracuse stars were now in early foul trouble.

Use Calls To Stop Momentum By The Team You Are Not Helping

Syracuse went on another quick run, with Rautins and Johnson each draining threes, to take a 10 point lead midway through the first half. But Tony Greene went to work again, first giving a 50/50 ball out-of-bounds under the North Carolina basket to Syracuse, then calling a cheap foul on Syracuse that ESPN's Dan Shulman actually called a "late whistle" and that Shulman also said had "incensed" Jim Boeheim. The subsequent North Carolina run, uninterrupted by Tony Greene, erased the Syracuse lead and the Tar Heels actually led by 2 at the half.

For clarification, North Carolina attempted 15 free throws in the first half; Syracuse only attempted 4.

The second half began with a quick Syracuse spurt, and within 90 seconds, that 2 point North Carolina halftime lead became a 4-point Syracuse advantage, which the Orange extended to 12 following an "and one" call, made by Roger Ayers, on North Carolina about 6 minutes into the second half. Having stopped Syracuse's momentum twice in the first half, it appeared now that a Syracuse rout was inevitable.

As Kenny Rogers Said, "Know When To Fold 'Em" and Swallow The Whistle

Syracuse's 22-1 run to open the second half made it totally clear that this was not the Tar Heels' night. The Tar Heels didn't make a single shot until 8 minutes into the second half, they made repeated turnovers, and they were absolutely out of the game before the second half reached its midway point. Even though the Tar Heels made a brief run to cut the Orange lead to single digits, Syracuse pulled away to win by 16, 87-71.

There is no way to know whether Tony Greene is "on the take" or not. But ITGOTT noticed odd officiating patterns by Greene during the 2008-2009 season, and has chosen to monitor his games throughout the 2009-2010 campaign, seeing how many calls he makes that fit the profile of an official as we'd imagine if that official were "on the take." Tony Greene didn't make any calls to help Syracuse tonight, but he did make a few early calls that helped North Carolina - attempts to stop Syracuse momentum, early fouls on Syracuse stars, etc. But tonight was clearly not North Carolina's night, and additional questionable calls to stop more Syracuse momentum could only draw attention to Tony Greene, and if he were "on the take", the last thing he would want is attention.

So, as Kenny Rogers said, "Know when to fold 'em." When you're an official "on the take", sometimes there is just no helping a team cover the spread, so just throw in the towel and be comfortable in the knowledge that you can only turn the tables so often and you did your best.

Perhaps that's what we saw tonight.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Game 7 - Syracuse v. California - Nov. 19, 2009

GAME - Syracuse vs. California in New York, NY; Thursday, November 19, 2009

LINE - California -2

RESULT - Syracuse covers as an underdog, winning by 22

Tony Greene worked his 7th game of the year tonight, but only his second televised game of the year. Thus, this is ITGOTT's second opportunity to monitor Tony Greene's officiating.

The game, part of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic from Madison Square Garden in New York City, featured two ranked teams - perhaps Tony Greene's highest profile game of the short season. The game, which opened as a pick'em (no favorite), went off with Cal as a 2 point favorite according to the Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook. Officiating a game with a short spread, like this game, is very different than officiating a game with a large spread for an official who might be "on the take."

With A Small Spread, Keep The Team You Are Helping Close Early

With a short spread like tonight's game, an official "on the take" has more options. First, he could work to keep the team he's not favoring from running away early, counting on his ability to make close calls at the end, thus helping the team he's favoring as time winds down. Sometimes just "keeping it close" early may result in the team he's expected to help gain some momentum, and build themselves a lead that helps them cover the small spread.

If The Team You Are Helping Is Doing Well On Their Own, Lay Low

Additionally, an official "on the take" could help the team he's helping to build an early lead, then let the game progress pretty uneventfully with that large lead maintained throughout the game and the team covering its short spread.

This game provides an example of how both of these scenarios could happen in the same game.

Early in tonight's matchup, California streaked to a 5-0 lead, but the officials appeared to want to stop that runaway from happening. A few early calls went against Cal, and Syracuse reversed course to turn that 5-point early deficit into a 13-point lead. Pretty quickly, Cal was in foul trouble and Syracuse was not. As an example of this discrepancy, Syracuse shot 11 free throws (as a typical Syracuse team, they only made 6), before Cal went to the line even once. With that kind of early free throw differential, Tony Greene and his officiating colleagues (Bernard Clinton and Roger Ayers) were able to see Syracuse build a big lead, something an official "on the take" for Syracuse would want to happen.

After Syracuse built its lead, the half wound down with little change in the margin and little noise from the officials, and Syracuse took an 11-point lead to the locker room. An uneventful end of the first half.

In an uneventful second half, Syracuse extended its 11-point halftime lead organically (with no apparent officiating help), to 19 with about 13 minutes to go.

With The Spread Easily Covered, Make Calls Favoring the OTHER Team To Draw Attention Away From Yourself

At one point, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was yelling about a call at Tony Greene, but with a 19 point lead for the 2 point underdog, an official on the take for Syracuse can afford to make a couple of close ones go against the Orange, which could draw attention away from his bias, if it existed.

The remainder of the game was simply an exercise in Syracuse running out the clock. Even with a brief Cal run in the final minutes, the final score was 95-73, and all the while, the officials laid low.


There is never any way to know if officials are "on the take", but from early on in this game, it's clear that if these officials, including Tony Greene, WERE on the take, they were favoring Syracuse. Cal spurted early, and foul trouble stopped them. Syracuse extended its lead, and the officials never stopped their momentum. And once Syracuse had the game (and spread) in hand, the officials laid low, except for one call AGAINST Syracuse that got the ire of Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim. Lots of "on the take" rules were followed here, whether intentionally or not, and Syracuse easily covered the spread, their 22 point victory meaning that the 2-point underdogs covered the spread by 24 points.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Game 6 - Stetson vs. Florida State - Nov. 18, 2009

Well, Tony Greene worked his 6th game of the season tonight, a thrilling tilt between Stetson and Florida State in Tallahassee, FL. Florida State trounced Stetson, 80-38.

And for the 5th time in 6 games, Tony Greene's game was not televised. Unless you were in the arena in Tallahassee, which ITGOTT was not, you can't review Tony Greene's work.

On to Game #7, presumably tomorrow night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Game 5 - Western Kentucky v. LSU - Nov. 17

Tony Greene worked his fifth game of the year tonight, a non-televised tilt between LSU and Western Kentucky.

This is the 4th non-televised game in 5 games Tony Greene has worked this season. And undoubtedly we will miss some of his televised games here at ITGOTT, but when 80% of his games are not televised, it's difficult for an outsider to review his work.

On to tomorrow night's games!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Game 4 - Alabama State v. Mississippi - Nov. 16

Tony Greene worked the Alabama State vs Mississippi game tonight in Oxford, MS.

The game was not televised, so a review of Tony Greene's work is not possible for ITGOTT.

Game 2: Elon v. Lipscomb - Nov 14, 2009

Tony Greene worked the Elon vs. Lipscomb game from Nashville, TN, on Saturday, November 14.

This game was not televised, nor is ITGOTT aware of any line on this game.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Game 3: Tony Greene works East Carolina-Wake Forest - Sunday, Nov. 15

GAME: East Carolina vs. Wake Forest at Greensboro, NC; Sunday, November 15, 2009

LINE: Wake Forest -16 1/2

RESULT: Wake Forest covers, winning by 31

Tony Greene worked his third game of the 2009-2010 college basketball season today in a match-up of East Carolina and Wake Forest from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC.

Although technically a home game for East Carolina, there were very few fans of either team in the venue, which is much closer to Wake Forest's campus in Winston-Salem, NC, than it is to East Carolina's campus in Greenville, NC. Those are the things "mid-majors" must do to get big-time teams to play them; the mid-major has to agree to play it's "home" game in a "neutral" location that favors the big-time team.

It is important to note the betting line for today's game. Wake Forest opened as a 9 1/2 point favorite, yet at game time, the Demon Deacons were 16 point favorites. In other words, so much money came in on Wake Forest that casinos had to adjust their line by a whopping 6 1/2 points, trying to entice bettors to bet on East Carolina. For a point of reference, there was no other line in today's college basketball games that moved as much - apparently, there was a disproportionate amount of money on Wake Forest.

During the game, it was obvious that Wake Forest was the better team. 16 points better? Maybe, maybe not. But it seemed to ITGOTT that the officials, including Tony Greene, were intent on allowing Wake Forest, clearly a bigger and stronger team, to be must more physical on the defensive end than they were allowing East Carolina. (Note: the other officials were Mike Stuart and Les Jones).

This was so egregious to East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy that he actually received a technical foul during halftime. His protests of some no-calls on Wake Forest's defense earned him the ire of the officiating crew, and thus a technical foul call. ITGOTT always notes technical fouls on coaches for protesting calls, because we believe an official "on the take" could easily use a technical foul as a TRIPLE whammy, favoring the team he needs to cover.

The technical foul triple whammy:

First, the technical foul silences the coach of the team being cheated. Fearing getting a second technical foul and being ejected, the coach is likely to protest LESS after the technical foul, thus drawing less attention to the official on the take.

Second, it gives "free" points to the team being helped. In a game where the outcome is not in doubt but the point spread is, a couple of free points here and there can go totally unnoticed by everyone other than bettors.

Third, officials are most likely to assess technical fouls when their integrity is questioned. All officials know they will miss calls here and there, and usually are OK with coaches yelling at them about that. But question their integrity? Officials are much more likely to be offended by this if they really ARE on the take, don't you think?

During the early portion of the second half, Wake Forest extended its lead to 28 points, but a spurt by East Carolina, aided by several three pointers, pulled the lead back to 20 points. The point spread was threatened, and on two of the next three East Carolina offensive possessions, obvious fouls on Wake Forest were ignored by Tony Greene. As the TV commentators pointed out that Wake Forest was pulling away, a shot of an incredulous East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy lingered on the TV screen. Apparently afraid to questions the officials, perhaps due to the technical he received at halftime, Coach McCarthy stood silently bemused, appearing to be defeated by not only the superior talent of the Demon Deacons but also the officiating crew.

(Note: Mike Stuart also contributed to the Wake Forest run, calling a three-second call on an East Carolina offensive possession.)

It should be noted that, with 13:17 left in the game, a shot by East Carolina that was "clearly tipped", according to the commentators, out of bounds by Wake Forest was ruled to be Wake Forest's ball. "All three officials clearly missed that one," the commentators said, "Mack McCarthy can't even get the officials to meet to talk about it." Wake Forest scored on the ensuing possession to increase its lead to nearly 30, safely above the 16 1/2 point spread. It should be noted that refusing to work as an officiating team could be an easy tactic for an official on the take, preferring to stick to what HE claims he saw rather than asking his fellow officials for help in case he missed something.

An official on the take dealing with a large spread needs to be careful to get the spread "covered" before the end of the game. As in many games with large spreads, Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio was unconcerned with the spread and spent the last 10 minutes of the game getting playing time for his reserves. As such, the 30 point deficit Wake Forest obtained with about 10 minutes to go was steady until the end of the game, which Wake Forest won by 31, easily covering the 16 1/2 point spread.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Game 1: Tony Greene works Georgia-New Orleans - Fri, Nov. 13

Tony Greene worked his first game of the year tonight, working a game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the New Orleans Privateers 67-59.

Georgia was a 15 1/2 point favorite, so the Privateers achieved a back-door cover in this game.

Since this game was not televised, ITGOTT can't review Tony Greene's work.

Was anyone at the game in Athens? Were there any suspicious Tony Greene calls that might have favored the eventual money winner, the University of New Orleans?

On to Game 2...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The 2009-2010 college basketball season is here! (No Tony Greene sightings yet...)

Official games began on Monday, November 9, and so far, there have been 7 games played.

4 games were played Monday, November 9; 3 games were played Wednesday, November 11. And 2 games (James Madison visiting Ohio State and Georgia State visiting North Carolina State) will be played tonight. While it's unlikely Tony Greene will be in Value City arena tonight, ITGOTT will be watching nonetheless! The NC State-GA State game, a Tony Greene possibility, will not be televised.

So far, there have been no Tony Greene sightings. Some ITGOTT favorites - Mike Littlewood, Bernard Clinton, and Dick Cartmell - have been seen blowing the whistle, as well as another official ITGOTT thinks doesn't belong working at the D-1 level (Raymie Styons).

But our man Tony Greene? He will almost certainly get his first action tomorrow night when there are no fewer than 126 Division 1 games! Where will Tony Greene be? We don't know, but hopefully the game he works will be televised so we will be able to monitor him.

Stay tuned...