Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Game 52 - Florida @ South Carolina - Feb. 10, 2010

Game - Florida @ South Carolina - Wednesday, February 1o, 2010

Line - South Carolina - 1 1/2

Result - South Carolina wins 77-71 and covers the 1 1/2 point spread

Tony Greene continued his work in the 2009-2010 NCAA basketball season when he worked his 52nd game of the year in Columbia, SC. Just two weeks ago on the same floor, South Carolina had defeated #1 Kentucky, but tonight the Gamecocks were just a 1 1/2-point favorite on visiting and unranked Florida. With such a small spread, it was likely that any officiating that demonstrated the possibility of an official "on the taek" would also affect the outcome.

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

After Florida had built an 8-point lead with about 5 minutes to go in the first half and was threatening to push their lead to double digits, the officiating changed. Only FOUR total calls had been made on either team throughout the first 15 minutes of the game, and with that style of officiating, Florida had taken an 8-point lead and clearly had the momentum. When South Carolina's Brandis Raley-Ross drives into the lane, out of control, and crashes into Florida's Dan Werner, not only is the foul called on Warner, but Raley-Ross is awarded free throws, as well. On the VERY NEXT possession, Devan Downey does the SAME THING, driving into the lane and crashing into Florida's Erving Walker. SAME CALL - free throws for Downey, and suddenly the Florida lead is whittled to two, and their momentum is stemmed. The Florida lead stood at four at halftime.

Use Calls (Or Non-Calls) To Seize The Momentum For The Team You Are Helping

Halfway through the second half, Florida STILL lead by 4, and it appeared this margin was pretty static. Unless something external happened - such as a big call by the officials - neither team looked like it could make a run. So with just under 10 minutes to go in the second half, Florida's Dan Werner is called for a mystery travel, and on the ensuing possession, South Carolina's Brandis Raley-Ross drains a three, and the momentum had switched.

A minute later, Florida's Chandler Parsons was OBVIOUSLY fouled on a lay-up attempt, but Tony Greene - staring RIGHT at the play - didn't call a foul. Of course, South Carolina scored on its ensuing possession, and took its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The momentum in this game had CLEARLY changed on two calls (actually, one call and one no-call), and South Carolina, just up 1, was now in control of the game.

The Gamecocks extended their lead to 7 with 4 minutes to go, then with Florida missing free throws, South Carolina lead by 10 with one minute to go. The Gamecocks eventually won 77-71, covering the 1 1/2 point spread. The ENTIRE outcome of this game hinged, in our eyes, on a couple of calls (and a huge no-call by Tony Greene) in the middle of the second half.

One other thing. Joe Dean, Jr., calling this game for the SEC Network, referred on-air to the officiating crew of Tony Greene, Mike Nance, and Bert Smith as the "A-Team" of SEC officials. While this point is clearly debatable, what bothers ITGOTT is the fact that Joe Dean says that he also made this comment TO the officials before the game. Why is this a problem? Because it indicates a familiarity between the color commentator and the officials. That familiarity almost certainly precludes Joe Dean from criticizing the work of this officiating crew, if necessary, and thus Joe Dean is CLEARLY not calling the game with a pair of totally objective eyes. ITGOTT wants to hear announcers who criticize officials when necessary as well as praising them when warranted. The familiarity that many announcers, including Joe Dean, Jr., have with officials prevents this objectivity.

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