Saturday, January 15, 2011

Game 38 - #10 Connecticut @ DePaul - January 15, 2011

Game - #10 Connecticut @ DePaul - Saturday, January 15, 2011

Line - Connecticut -9

Result - Connecticut wins 82-62 and covers the spread

First of all, while ITGOTT doesn't advocate sports gambling, there are people who do it. And those who are in the know almost certainly snapped up Connecticut, just a 9-point favorite at desultory DePaul. Frankly, Kemba Walker and four random strangers could probably have beaten DePaul by more than 9, even if Joey Meyer, Mark Aguirre, and Oliver Purnell's wife were officiating.

But, Tony Greene was officiating - this his 38th Division 1 basketball game of the year - along with Jeff Clark and Mike Roberts.

Here's the thing on the UConn 9-point spread. Vegas lines are made to attract equal action on each side, and if there had been a TON of action on UConn at 9 (they opened as either a 10 or 10 1/2 point favorite, depending on the sports book), the spread would have gone way UP to attract more money on DePaul, such that there was an even amount of money on each team. It is believed that as little as a $3000 difference in money wagered could move a regular season college basketball line 1 point, so it's unlikely there was a rush of smart money on UConn in this game, even if there should have been.

There were two officiating moments to note in today's game.

When Helping A Good Favorite, Get Off To A Good Start

Things got off to a GREAT start for 9-point favorite UConn today when less than 5 minutes into the game, Tony Greene awarded UConn's Kemba Walker an "and one" opportunity that extended their lead from 6-2 to 9-2. First, Tony Greene was the wing official on this call, signaling the foul from out of position (which he LOVES to do). Second, Tony Greene whistled the call VERY late, seeming watching the result of the play before deciding to blow the whistle... yet ANOTHER of Tony Greene's commonly seen officiating characteristics.

Following that "and one", UConn went on a series of defensive stands involving blocked shots that could EASILY have been called fouls. The officials eschewed the whistle each time (three total blocked shots in about a minute), but DID whistle a ticky-tack foul on Jimmy Drew of DePaul about 6 1/2 minutes into the game. That series of calls and non-calls not only earned the raised eyebrow from ITGOTT, it also earned a vociferous enough reaction from DePaul Coach Oliver Purnell that he was tacked with a technical for his protests. 6 1/2 minutes into the game, and the free throws gave UConn a 17-7 lead, covering the 9-point spread early.

Then a funny thing happened. DePaul played some plucky basketball, and for the next 20 minutes of basketball, neither club was able to make a run. Neither team had momentum, but organically (without the interference of the officials), it did not appear that Connecticut was going to go on a run and break open a 10-point game and comfortably cover the 9-point spread.

Use Calls To Give Momentum To The Team You Are Helping, If They Need It

Then with 15:28 to go in the game, Tony Greene's crew went to work. Although Tony Greene did not make the call himself, a DePaul offensive possession was stifled with the phantom "moving screen" call. John Celestand, working for the Big East Network, cited the call (or the action which resulted in the call as "extra-curricular," adding absolutely nothing to the telecast other than the clarification that John Celestand is an idiot who doesn't know the definition of the work "extra-curricular."

Nonetheless, UConn did as expected, and capitalized on this momentum-shifting call. Before anyone knew it, the Huskies had extended a 13-point lead to 25 with 10 to play, and all the way to 30 with 5 minutes to play, easily covering the 9-point spread. A brief DePaul run at the end cut the margin to 20, but UConn still easily covered.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Game 37 - #18 Louisville @ #7 Villanova - January 12, 2011

Game - #18 Louisville @ #7 Villanova - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Line - Villanova -3.5

Result - Villanova win 88-74 and covers

Tony Greene officiated his 37th NCAA Dividion 1 basketball game tonight in Philadelphia, an exciting Big East Conference match-up featuring ranked teams. #18 Louisville headed to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the #7 Villanova Wildcats. Tony Greene was working with Tim Higgins, whose officiating will be discussed in an ITGOTT entry later this week.

Keep 'Em Guessing - Make Bizarre Calls That Confuse Everybody

After Louisville spurted to leads of both 7-0 (then the Wildcats tied it up) and 16-9, it was clear that this game was going to be a frenetic, tight contest. Tony Greene made a bizarre illegal screen call against Louisville's Stephan van Treese with about 13 minutes to go in the first half. While the reason for this call was unclear (it certainly didn't look like a foul on the TiVo replay), it was nonetheless a bizarre Tony Greene call against Louisville.

The game remained an exciting, back-and-forth affair the rest of the first half, with Villanova taking a 1-point 42-41 lead into the locker room.

As the second half began, it became obvious that neither Louisville nor official Tim Higgins could keep up with the up-and-down pace, and the Wildcats began to pull away. Quickly, the 1-point halftime lead extended to 7 (with no apparent help from the officials) then to 13 halfway through the second half.

A brief Cardinal run couldn't reduce the 13-point Villanova lead enough to threaten the 3.5-point spread, and Villanova cruised to an 88-74 victory, easily covering the 3.5-point spread.

Game 37 - #18 Louisville @ #7 Villanova - January 12, 2011

Game - #18 Louisville @ #7 Villanova - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Line - Villanova -3.5

Result -

Tony Greene officiated his 37th NCAA Division 1 game of the 2010-2011 season, a Big East Conference tilt featuring two ranked teams. Working alongside Tim Higgins - look for some Tim Higgins information in another ITGOTT post later this week - Tony Greene was working what many considered the game of the night. Villanova entered the game at a 3.5-point favorite over the Louisville Cardinals.

When Helping An Underdog, Get Off To A Good Start

The underdog Louisville Cardinals helped themselves by shooting to a quick 4-0 lead less than a minute into the game and forcing Villanova's Jay Wright to call a time-out. Then Tony Greene helped the Cards when he called a phantom foul on a Villanova player as Louisville's Giorgui Dieng drove for a bucket just over a minute into the game. Dieng converted the bucket AND the free throw, and the Cards were out to an early 7-0 lead on the road, and the Cards were off to a GREAT start on the road against a Top 10 team.

Louisville withstood a brief Villanova run and extended their lead back to 7 at 16-9 before a Villanova spurt allowed the Wildcats to take a brief lead. Back and forth they went until halftime, neither team able to take a significant lead (remember, Louisville was a 3.5 point underdog) and halftime saw the game nearly even, with Villanova holding a scant 1-point lead, 42-41, but Louisville covering the spread considering their 3.5 point underdog status.

As the second half began, it became obvious that neither Louisville nor official Tim Higgins could keep up with the frenetic pace. With no apparent officiating bias, the Wildcats were able to turn their 1-point halftime lead into a 7-point lead, then a spurt midway through the second half stretched the Cats' lead to 13.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Game 35 - Tennessee @ Arkansas - January 8, 2011

Tony Greene worked his 35th NCAA Division 1 game of the 2010-2011 season Saturday in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the Arkansas Razorbacks topped the coach-less and turmoil-filled Tennessee Volunteers 68-65.

Although the game was televised, the ITGOTT crew was actually in person at ANOTHER college basketball game and was unable to review Tony Greene's performance.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Game 34 - #5 Pittsburgh @ Providence - January 4, 2011

Game - #5 Pittsburgh @ Providence - Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Line - Pittsburgh -6

Result - #5 Pittsburgh wins 83-79, but Providence gets the back-door cover of the 6-point spread

After a month-long break, ITGOTT is back on the officiating prowl, and the indefatigable Tony Greene was also working, officiating tonight's Pitt-Providence match-up in Providence, his 34th Division 1 game of the 2010-2011 season.

Use Calls (And Non-calls) To Stop The Momentum Of The Team You Are Not Helping

Although hot-shooting Pitt has sprinted to a 15-6 lead, Providence went on a 7-0 run (aided by a couple of inconsequential calls against Pitt) to cut the Pitt lead to 15-13. The momentum was clearly on the side of the Friars.

Then, with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half, Providence had pounded the ball under the basket in an attempt to score easily and tie the game. A Pitt player hacked Providence's Marshon Brooks as Brooks attempted a lay-up, but Tony Greene, working the baseline made no call. Even Don Orsillo, working the game for the Big East Network, noted that there was "a lot of contact; no call" as Pitt took the rebound and headed to the other end of the floor.

On their own, this Greene no-call, and Barbar's comment, may have been innocuous. But, when, 2 possessions later after Providence had extended its run to 9-0 and tied the game (and still CLEARLY had the momentum), the SAME THING HAPPENED !!! This time, with just over 10 minutes to go in the first half, Providence's Vincent Council drove the lane and AGAIN Pitt appeared to hack him and AGAIN Tony Greene, working the baseline, made no call. Amazingly, AGAIN, Don Orsillo commented that there was a "lot of contact." Yet there was no call. Orsillo then gratuitiously adds that the officials are "letting them play at the moment... lot of contact down there."

When an official makes two no-calls on the same situation within one minute (of gametime), and when the announcer comments BOTH TIMES... and when MAKING calls there might add to a teams' momentum, well the eyebrows at ITGOTT are raised.

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

After Pitt's shooting warms up - mostly Gilbert Brown, who seeming can't miss from distance - the Panthers turn their scant 2-point deficit into a 9-point lead with just over 2 minutes to go in the game. When Marshon Brooks drains a 3-pointer with about 90 seconds to go in the half, an official (not Tony Greene, either Gene Steratore or Ray Perone - ITGOTT couldn't tell which) whistled Pitt's Gilbert Brown for what Big East TV color commentator Ron Perry called a "touch foul." As Brooks completed the momentum-shifting 4-point play, Perry went further and branded the call "a bit of a cameo," which we think means that Brooks was acting when he fell to the ground as Perry barely touched him.

If You Need Control To Affect The Spread, Call It Tight After Halftime

With Pitt a 6-point favorite and with the Panthers having a 7-point halftime lead, officials "on the take" may want to take control of the game in the second half to affect the outcome with regards to the spread. And as the second half began, the crew of Tony Greene, Ray Perone, and Gene Steratore officiated with a much tighter whistle - both ways, although the FOUR early fouls on Pitt were noted by ITGOTT.

The LATE Whistle - Watch The Play Unfold Before Making The Call

A quick early second half spurt by the Providence Friars had cut the Pitt 7-point halftime lead to just one when the Panthers responded with basketball's great momentum-shifter... the "and one." The Panther lead was extended to 4, and the 6-point spread was once again threatened.

However, as Providence's Kadeem Batts missed an inside shot with just under 13 minutes to go in the second half, Tony Greene - working the baseline - appeared to WAIT to see if the ball went in before making the foul call against Pitt. Whether "on the take" or not, waiting to see the result of a play before making a foul call is just bad officiating, and Tony Greene was guilty of that on this call tonight.

Get Major Players On The Team You Are Not Helping In Foul Trouble

In addition to calling the game much tighter in the second half, Tony Greene called Pitt's Gilbert Brown - the Panther whose hot shooting had been such an impact on the game so far - for a hand check - his FOURTH foul - 20 feet from the basket with 12 1/2 minutes to go in the game. The potential impact of losing the game's hottest shooter was huge, and Brown was immediately pulled from the game. Given that Providence had played well, with intensity, and was playing very good defense, this call could affect not only the game but also the spread. At this point, Pitt had a 4-point lead (the spread, remember, was Pitt by 6), which although they extended their lead to 10 with 8 minutes to go, there were notable Pitt players in foul trouble for the stretch of the game.

And having so many players in foul trouble down the stretch - especially Gilbert Brown - proved to be the Panthers' undoing. Although they had a 10-point lead with 8 minutes to go (covering the 6-point spread) the tenacious Providence Friars came all the way back to take the lead - aided by some amazing offensive foul calls against Pitt.

Make The Big Call(s) At The End

An offensive push-off on Pitt's Ashton Gibbs with about 6 minutes to play resulted in a Providence three-pointer which cut the lead to 3. But then after back-to-back fouls on the Friars at the Pitt end of the floor allowed Pitt to extend the lead BACK to 6 via free throws, yet ANOTHER Friar three sliced the lead back to 3. A SECOND offensive foul call on Pitt's Ashton Gibbs - this time with about 4 minutes to and with Pitt clinging to a 4-point lead... within the 6-point spread. A THIRD offensive foul call on Pitt - this time on Brad Wanamaker with about 2 minutes to go - allowed the tenacious Providence Friars, who had cut the Pitt lead to one, to actually take the lead 73-72 with just more than 2 minutes to play. And, believe it or not, a FOURTH offensive foul call on Pitt - this one fouling Brad Wanamaker out with 2 minutes to play.

An amazing 4 offensive foul calls were called on Pittsburgh in the last 6 minutes of the game, and the 10-point Pitt lead turned into a 4-point deficit in that time period, as the Friars took an improbably 76-72 lead with 1:13 to play. It should be noted that NONE of the amazing FOUR offensive foul calls against Pitt down the stretch were called by Tony Greene.

At this point, the game's outcome was in doubt... but the 6-point spread was not. Win or lose the actual game, the Providence Friars would either win outright as an underdog or get the elusive backdoor cover for its bettors.

A couple of Providence turnovers down the stretch, a couple of big Pitt buckets, and a couple of Panther free throws at the end resulted in a 83-79 Pitt win... but a Providence back-door cover considering the 6-point spread.