Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Game 51 - Tennessee @ #18 Kentucky - February 8, 2011

Game - Tennessee @ #18 Kentucky - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Line - Kentucky -9 1/2

Result - Kentucky wins 73-61 and covers the spread

Tony Greene is confounding. Although a series of calls in the first half would have CONVINCED a viewer that the crew working tonight's game - including Tony Greene, Ted Valentine, and Mark Whitehead - were totally in the bank for Tennessee, when it came to crunch time and calls COULD have tipped the spread to Tennessee without affecting the outcome, the officials stood down and allowed the game to (apparently) end without interference.

To wit:

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

Make Calls From Out Of Position

So TWICE early in the game - with about 13 to play in the first half, and with 11 1/2 minutes to play in the first half - Tony Greene did BOTH of these things. TWICE !!! It's almost hard to believe, but within 90 seconds, Tony Greene TWICE stepped in from out of position to whistle a Kentucky player for a questionable charge.

Further, with 7:43 to play in the first half, Ted Valentine did the SAME THING, but this time he stepped in, drew attention to himself as only TV Teddy can do, and called Kentucky for a terrible - and I mean truly terrible - blocking foul. In fact, during his SEC-contract-mandated in-game interview with ESPN's Shannon Spake during the ensuing time-out, Kentucky coach John Calipari backhandedly criticized Valentine's absurd call by saying that what his team needed to do to be successful was to continue to "take charges" like they just did. A good laugh, and well-played, Coach Calipari.

Watching the game, ITGOTT was convinced that this officiating crew - if they were, in fact, "on the take" - was in the bag for Tennessee.

Yet, as Kentucky's huge 19-point first half lead dwindled to just 5 after halftime, and then ballooned back up to double digits to cover the spread, the officials didn't seem to do anything out the ordinary. No late calls to tip the spread to Tennessee. No questionable calls to alter the momentum. No calls from out of position. Not even any terrible calls, Mark Whitehead's ludicrous blocking call on Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins with about 12 minutes to play in the game and with the Wildcats leading by 16... hardly "crunch time". It was strange, and while the officials did NOT appear, in the end, to tip the spread or ultimately be "on the take," it certainly raised two important questions:

1. If Tony Greene is NOT "on the take," is he just a TERRIBLE official?

2. Must TV Teddy Valentine always preen and draw attention to himself with his officiating?

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