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.

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