Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Game 47 - #25 Mississippi @ #4 Kentucky - Feb. 2, 2010

Game - #25 Mississippi @ #4 Kentucky - Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Line - Kentucky -11

Result - Kentucky wins 85-75, but Mississippi covers the spread

Tony Greene seems to work more games involving the Kentucky Wildcats than any other team, and tonight was no exception. Tony Greene's 47th game of the season was a match-up of the Ole Miss Rebels and the Kentucky Wildcats from Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington. The Wildcats entered the game as an 11-point favorite.

Use Calls To Keep The Team You Are Helping Close Early

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

Less than 2 minutes into the game, the Kentucky Wildcats had sprinted to a 7-0 lead before anybody knew was was happening. Since Ole Miss was an 11-point underdog, the spread was being threatened early, and Tony Greene and his crew couldn't let this happen. After awarding Ole Miss a couple of free throws, Tony Greene stepped in on a Kentucky drive to the hoop to make a questionable charge call (aren't they all?) and give the ball to Ole Miss. The call could easily have changed momentum, and kept Ole Miss from being blown out.

Don't Let The Game Get Away From You In The First Half

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

After Kentucky dominated its way to a huge 18-point lead less than halfway through the first half, the game was on the verge of becoming a blowout. On the VERY next possession, the officials called Kentucky for a very questionable "and one" foul, giving a little momentum to Ole Miss. The Rebels capitalized on this big call, executed a 7-0 run, and cut the Wildcat lead. Perhaps more important than the fact that Ole Miss cut into the lead was the fact that the Wildcats' momentum was effectively stopped with this single, crucial call.

With this newfound momentum, Ole Miss was able to slowly, but surely, eat away at the Wildcats' lead, and with under four minutes to go in the first half, the Rebels had cut the lead to 5 with just 3 minutes to go in the first half. A brief Kentucky run at the end of the first half made the halftime Rebel deficit 9.

Use Calls To Stop The Momentum Of The Team You Are Helping

After Kentucky began the second half just like they did the first half - a hot streak that quickly pushed their lead to 15 - it seemed like the Wildcats had seized all the momentum. In quick succession, Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe converted an athletic, tipped-pass alley-oop lay-up and then Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins stole the ensuing inbounds pass and converted the lay-up to push the Wildcat lead to 17. But wait... enter Tony Greene, seemingly determined NOT to lead Kentucky blow this game open. Tony Greene claimed (in an off-camera comment to ESPN's Brad Nessler during the time-out) that Ole Miss had somehow sneaked in a time-out BEFORE the Cousins steal of the inbounds pass. VERY bizarre, and a very obvious momentum-changer. The call not only took 2 points off the board for Kentucky, it also allowed Ole Miss to make a run and cut the 15-point Wildcat lead to 3, safely inside the 11-point spread. A single, momentum-changing call that incited a 14-point swing in the game.

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

When Kentucky began ANOTHER run and pushed its lead back to 12, covering the 11 point spread, halfway through the second half, the officials stepped in again. This time, it was in the form of an "and one" foul against Kentucky, awarding Ole Miss a free throws after a bucket. Although the free throw was missed, Kentucky's momentum was stemmed, and the game remained about a 12-point contest, back and forth, for several minutes. Although Kentucky was likely to win the game, the 11-point spread was definitely in doubt.

Make The Big Call At The End

With 1:16 to go, Kentucky led by 12, against an 11-point spread. Neither team was fouling and forcing free throws, and Kentucky was draining clock on its possessions, so something external was going to have to flip the spread. Enter this Tony Greene-led officiating crew, which called two quick fouls on Kentucky in SIX seconds - this when nobody was fouling or playing aggressive defense! Sure enough, the Kentucky lead was cut to 9 at the buzzer, and the Cats won 85-75. But Ole Miss covered the spread.

There are a couple of important things to note in this game. Each time Kentucky made a run and threatened to blow the game open, it was an official's call that stopped that momentum. The call Tony Greene made about 5 minutes into the second half, as Kentucky was threatening to blow open the game and push the lead to 17, absolutely changed the momentum of this game, and thus the spread. A good official "on the take" can do this - use BIG calls to change a game's momentum.

And when the spread was in question at the end, with both teams just draining clock to end the game, it was Ole Miss who was awarded free throws that flipped the spread.

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