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.