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).