Game - Florida @ #14 Tennessee - Sunday, January 31, 2010
Line - Tennessee -8
Result - Tennessee wins 61-60, but Florida covers against the spread
Three major college basketball officials have gone down with season-ending injuries this year - JD Collins, Jim Burr, and Steve Welmer (for the second consecutive year) - but Tony Greene is a workhorse. He worked his 46th game of the season today when he traveled to Knoxville, TN, to officiate a match-up between the visiting Florida Gators and the home-standing and 14th ranked Tennessee Volunteers. The game tipped off with Tennessee as an 8-point favorite.
Swallow Your Whistle When Things Are Going Your Way
It always amazes ITGOTT when we see officials truly allowing a game to flow naturally at the beginning without making any calls. ITGOTT noticed that a Tony Greene-led crew did this yesterday, and they did it again today when they didn't make any call for nearly three minutes. Today, it could have been in an effort to allow Florida, an 8-point underdog, to get off to the good start they were achieving on their own, unterrupted by officials. 4 minutes into the game, Florida led by 3. Their momentum continued uninterrupted by the officials for another three minutes, including a series with about 13 minutes to play where Florida's Chandler Parsons clearly fouled a Tennessee player during a rebound attempt - the Tennessee crowd took time to boo the non-call - and Florida took an early 15-7 lead.
Halfway through the first half, Florida - an 8-point underdog - was clearly in control of this game. The Gators were shooting well, defending well, and rebounding very well. The officiating crew of Tony Greene, John Cahill, and Anthony Jordan didn't appear inclined to interrupt this momentum and halfway through the first half, there had been only TWO fouls called, one on each team. With eight 1/2 minutes to play in the first half, Florida held a 7-point advantage - covering the spread by 15 points.
The Charge Block Call - It Can Go Either Way, So Make Sure It Goes Your Way
Make The Big Judgment Call In Favor Of The Team You Are Helping
Florida was unable to extend its lead, and a brief Tennessee run, which seemed to include a claim of the game's momentum especially on the defensive end, the Florida lead was down to 5. After a Volunteer steal, the Vols were driving to the hoop with a chance to cut the lead to three and definitively seize the game's momentum, which had been all Florida's up to this point. Enter Tony Greene. With 5 1/2 minutes to play, Tennessee's Scotty Hopson makes a runner in the lane that Tony Greene steps in to wave off, calling the play a charge rather than an "and one" situation. Instead of the Florida lead being cut to three, or two with the free throw, the Gators get the ball and immediately score, their lead being pushed back to 7. This was a HUGE call that definitely allowed Florida to maintain the game's momentum and ultimately take a 6-point halftime lead into the locker room.
While 6 points isn't a huge point differential with regards to the game's outcome, the Gators held a 14-point differential against the spread. More of the same in the second half would result in a Florida victory against the spread regardless of the game's outcome.
The Charge/Block Call - It Can Go Either Way, So Make Sure It Goes Your Way
Make The Big Judgment Call In Favor Of The Team You Are Helping
Less than a minute in the second half, Tennessee's Wayne Chism had hit a three to cut the lead to three, and the Vols' JP Prince was driving to the hoop trying to cut the lead to one. Again, amazingly, in steps Tony Greene, just as he did in the first half, calling a charge against Tennessee and challenging the Vols' attempt to seize momentum. While the call was big, the momentum didn't change as Florida was unable to capitalize and Tennessee quickly cut the lead to one.
So Tony Greene makes ANOTHER call, this time on a Tennessee player as Florida attempted a put-back. Less than two minutes in and with Tennessee clearly seizing the momentum, Tony Greene had made TWO calls against the Vols. Yet again, Florida wasn't able to capitalize, missing one of the two free throws.
And then after a streaking Tennessee tied the game with 14 1/2 minutes to play and clearly had the momentum, Tony Greene stepped in YET AGAIN. After a Florida player slipped 40 feet from the basket, Tony Greene, naturally, called the Tennessee defender for a hand-check foul, eliciting groans from the partisan crowd when the replay was shown. On the ensuing possession, John Cahill called JP Prince for a foul on what appeared to be a clean block, and in a period of about 10 second, the officiating crew had made two calls that could have shifted momentum to Florida and away from Tennessee, who was on a very hot streak.
Another note: although there were only 8 total fouls called in the first half (and neither team reached the bonus), Florida reached the bonus with 8 1/2 minutes to go in the second half. As Tennessee was seizing momentum and threatening the spread, the officials were calling them for enough fouls that Florida reached the bonus early and before Tennessee, a clear officiating difference from the first half.
Make The Big Call At The End
With just over 4 minutes to play, Tennessee has streaked to a 5-point lead and was definitely threatening the 8-point spread. So as Florida's Alex Tyus was lightly challenged on a dunk attempt by Tennessee's Skylar McBee, John Cahill called McBee for was appeared to be a phantom foul. The "and one" cut the Tennessee lead to 2 and put a little breathing room between the result and the 8-point spread.
With The Spread Secure, Let The Game's Outcome Occur On Its Own
So with under four minutes to play, the game was nearly even - Tennessee held a 2 point lead. If the game were to unfold organically - without interference from the officials - it was likely that the better team would win the game, but that Florida, an 8-point underdog would win against the spread. As ITGOTT has often said, this is what we think an official "on the take" would like - to influence the spread, but let the outcome occur naturally such that the best team wins.
And that's what happened. Tennessee, an 8-point favorite, squeaked out a 1-point victory. But Florida won vs. the spread, so those who bet on Florida were happy.