Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rick Pitino should probably be expecting a fine in the mail

UPDATE II: This blurb is from Andy Katz:

The Big East will investigate how the officials handled the West Virginia-Louisville game, especially in going to the monitor to (ahem) look at the shot clock when they may have actually been looking at who should have possession on an out-of-bounds play. Official Mike Kitts didn’t make a call and when no call is made on the floor, the possession goes to the team with the alternating possession arrow, which was Louisville. The ball actually did go off Louisville and West Virginia got the ball. So while the call was right it was not handled correctly. Louisville coach Rick Pitino criticized the officials by saying he was “tired of the officiating.” The Big East says it will investigate.

UPDATE: Card Chronicle has a frame by frame replay of second out of bounds call, and for the life of me I have no clue who the ball was off of. The angle sucks, and I have no idea which arm belongs to which player.


One thing I wish I had mentioned in the original post is that while the refs clearly had an off day, all of the blame shouldn't be put on their shoulders. They weren't the ones that allowed West Virginia to go on a 13-2 run. They weren't the ones that couldn't figure out the 1-3-1 zone that Huggy Bear threw at them. So while it is a tough loss for the Cardinals, and while Rick Pitino has every right to be mad, he should remember that his team did, in fact, blow this game as well.

West Virginia pulled out a nail-biter against Louisville today. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 13-0 lead on the Cardinals, but gave it all away as the Cardinals would use a 28-11 run to take a 44-37 lead near the end of the first half. With just six minutes remaining in the game, the Cardinals were still up 70-60, but West Virginia would go on a run capped by a Devin Ebanks and-one bucket to give WVU their first lead since early in the first half at 73-72.

And, believe it or not, that's when it got interesting.

After two Jerry Smith free throws gave the Cardinals the lead with under a minute left, it was West Virginia ball. Joe Mazzulla drove left and had the ball knocked out of bounds off of his head right in front of the ref.

He missed the call.

West Virginia ball. On the ensuing inbounds, Da'Sean Butler nailed a 15 footer to give WVU the lead with 15 seconds left. At the other end, after a Reginald Delk missed three (where he looked as if he was fouled), the rebound went out of bounds. But referee Mike Kitts ducked to avoid getting hit with the ball. As a result, he didn't see who knocked the ball out of bounds. After some discussion, the ball was given to West Virginia. (I still have yet to see an explanation as to why the ball was given to WVU. If you come across anything, drop us a line.)

ESPN didn't give a good angle on the replays, but it appears as if it, too, went off a West Virginia player.

Take a look at the two plays:

Needless to say, Rick Pitino was incensed. He only spoke to the media for 32 seconds after the game. Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal was able to get the entirety of the interaction on video:

Yea, he was pretty upset. (Ed. Note: I think the call that Pitino is referring to wasn't against Pitt, it was against Seton Hall. See the video here. If it wasn't, then Louisville has gotten hosed in three games this season. Yeesh.)

So what is the answer?

I don't know.

But what I will say is this: I wouldn't be surprised if Pitino got fined for his comments or fined for skipping the press conference after the game (although, I bet he skipped the press conference to avoid criticizing the officials and getting a fine). I don't blame him. If I was in his shoes, I would be just as angry as he is. Beating West Virginia on the road isn't just a win, it was the resume win that Louisville needed. It may end up being the difference between an NCAA and an NIT berth for Louisville.

If Pitino is going to get fined for speaking out against what is so obviously a horrendous call, then shouldn't the officials be punished for making the call? A fine? A suspension?

Its ridiculous for the officiating to be that terrible down the stretch. Blowing those calls changed the outcome of a game, and possibly a season. That should be unacceptable.


Anonymous said...

The officials blew a lot of calls in this game. They were equal opportunity offenders against both teams. Did the ball go off Mazzulla's head? Yes. Was Mazzulla tripped? I'd say yes, and that would have been the correct call. With a correct call then, WVU ball.
Now to the other end of the floor, I couldn't tell who it went off last until I visited the Card Chronicle:


They have a slow motion frame by frame and you can see that in fact it did go off of Buckles. The UL commenters on the website even point this out. The two things the UL commenters were most upset by, were the no-call on the three point shot by Delk, and the rule that states: if the officials are unsure of possession as the ball goes out of bounds then the possession arrow decides possession, not a review of the replay. As far as the no-call goes, I could not tell if contact was made or not. The Louisville player did fall, but I couldn't tell if there was contact or not. It wouldn't shock me if there was some, but I would need to see a different camera angle to know this. Regarding the possession arrow, again I agree, but if the official hadn't ducked, he would have seen that it did go off Buckles last and the result would have been WVU ball. In summation, mistakes were made all around, but give Huggs some credit for switching his defense to a hybrid 1-3-1 and pulling off an unlikely comeback.

Brett said...

Its not that the officials blew calls, that stuff happens all the time and there is human error. But they actually did not make the right ruling in the critical call where the ball went out of bounds off the Delk three point attempt.

So the ball goes out of bounds and no one knows who it went off of. The next step according to the rules is to go to the possession arrow. Instead, these guys still without a ruling go to the video replay for no explained reason yet. Nothing changed after the replay. The ball was simply given to WVU. Cheating at its worst. These officials need to be investigated. Complete sham at the end of the game.

I'm not saying Louisville would have won but they should have had another attempt at the end of the game because the possession arrow was in their favor.

Something needs to be done about these officials. But it's the NCAA so I expect nothing.