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No more John Higgins please.


higgins

John Higgins is not good at his job.

In fact, John Higgins is terrible at his job.

Sunday night’s regional final in Memphis further proved that Higgins, one of the most recognizable officials in college basketball, should not be allowed to call Kentucky games. He has been on the whistle in eight Kentucky games throughout his career, and Kentucky has been on the losing end of five of them. For a program that has won almost 80 percent of its games, there is something fishy about a 37.5 percent winning percentage under one referee.

Furthermore, John Calipari is 2-4 with the Wildcats when Higgins is on the floor, compared to Cal’s 247-49 record in other games. Those four losses came against UConn in the 2011 Final Four, Wisconsin in the 2015 Final Four, UCLA at Rupp Arena back in December, and in Sunday night’s heartbreaker against the Tar Heels. In the latter, Higgins was trending nationally on Twitter during the first half of the horribly-called game:

Let’s take a look at some of the calls Higgins and his two partners in crime, Keith Kimble and Mike Reed, whiffed on in those first 20 minutes:

The De’Aaron Fox no-call

The most obvious of the bad calls of the game, this somehow didn’t send Fox to the foul line right before halftime:

foul-1

foul-2

foul-3

All arm there.

The Bam Adebayo goaltending call

Kentucky was robbed of two points when a clean Bam Adebayo tip-in was waved off for phantom goaltending:

goaltend-1

goaltend-2

goaltend-3

Kentucky could’ve used those two points in the end, huh?

Another two points were waved off on this over-the-back call on Bam:

over-back-1

over-back-2

That’s not an over-the-back foul. That is called hustle and second effort.

There were many more missed and bad calls throughout that first half, almost all leaning in North Carolina’s favor. The Derek Willis loose ball foul is another one that comes to mind, and then there’s this from Mike DeCourcy’s story for The Sporting News:

There were some curiosities, though, particularly with the first-half officiating. On three occasions, official John Higgins observed action and did not blow his whistle to call a foul on Kentucky until the outcome of the play turned in UK’s favor.

All of it led John Calipari to say in his press conference, “You know, it’s amazing that we were in that game where they practically fouled out my whole team. Amazing that we had a chance.”

Cal also said he wishes he had his full roster in the first half against the Tar Heels.

With all that said, Kentucky still pulled ahead to a five-point lead with five minutes to go in the game, so the first half whistle isn’t the reason why the Cats lost. Kentucky lost because it needed more from De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk offensively, and because North Carolina is the best team in the country. Higgins’ whistle didn’t help UK’s chances, but the blame doesn’t fall on the guys in stripes.

Did they suck? Yes. Was it five on six in the first half? Yes. Is that an excuse? No. Blaming officials is never the way to go. But we can be critical of them, which is what I am doing right now.

Going forward, obviously, John Higgins should be kept far, far away from meaningful Kentucky games. I’m sure Calipari will do everything he can to make that happen.

But even if we never see Higgins again, he still played a starring role in three NCAA tournament exits in seasons with the title in reach.

He did this in the 2011 semifinal…

uconn-flop

He blew the shot clock call in the 2014 semifinal…

shot-clock

And he kept his streak alive by ruining the first half of Sunday’s game…

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No more John Higgins please.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

83 responses to “No more John Higgins please.”

  1. mj21

    The Plummer has to go

  2. Wes

    You know the NCAA will never take responsibility for anything so Higgins will continue to do his thing. And if anyone cares, I’m still pissed!!! That is all.

  3. catsarerunnin

    He’s a Heel.

  4. bigbluebeliever

    Dbags like this is part of why I don’t really follow basketball anymore. Officiating is so poor now.

  5. Mc12

    I disagree that they are the best team. I also disagree that refs can’t be to blame. I get they will miss touch fouls or plays like the Derek Willis foul, but to legitimately take 4 points off the board… that is a little different. Last year the refs were fine when we lost to IU. Last night, and against Wisconsin it seemed fishy. Did they miss a call or two on Uk yesterday? Sure, but something just didn’t feel right.

    1. W F Reserve

      Not sure they were that fine – remember the six or seven charge calls?

    2. Mc12

      Yeah. I had 10 beers that game too out of stress drinking, but when it ended I didn’t think UK was the better team especially with how Bryant dominated our bigs. This year, I felt we are the better team. This will take a few more days to get over.

    3. Mc12

      Maybe I don’t remember all the charges because of the beer now that I think about it lol

  6. W F Reserve

    Thanks Drew for not letting this die and echo the same thoughts I have had. In addition, I am almost convinced the NCAA doesn’t want Cal’s system to succeed. In addition to the officiating in these games you mentioned, we can talk about the seeding from Cal’s first year being sent to the East, the Ohio St/NC year, 2012 where they couldn’t stop it but tried with Baylor, IU, UL, and Kansas, 2013,with Wichita St, UL, Mich, and Wisc, last years under seeding and IU’s over seeding setup, to this years obvious gauntlet. But what can be done about the Higgins of the game or the seeding? Do we get an apology from the NCAA like Northwestern did? I don’t think Higgins is incompetent- I think he is brilliant at what he does. Only problem is he was way too obvious yesterday, and when you combine that with the other games you point out, the NCAA might pull back on him and insert Roger Ayres who is next in line. This one hurts bad – as bad as the John Wall team, the Unforgettables, the 38-0 team.

  7. GUNSLINGER

    Hey, thanks for the target….just print it out and fire away.

  8. mostdiggity

    Hi, will someone please read this comment and watch video (and listen) and please explain to me what it is I’m hearing (with 3:27 left in the game and we’re up two). Have not heard one other person discussing this…

    https://www.facebook.com/sweettommyt?fref=nf

    1. KYcats11

      People saying the offensive basket interference was a bad call. when he tipped the ball, since hall say it was still on the rim than it would have to immediately have backspin. the only reason it had backspin was because bam touched it not the rim.

    2. mostdiggity

      Thanks, but read the post above and watch the replay at 3:38 left in the game (per the link). Tell me what you hear?

  9. therubberman1

    Goaltending and basket interference are different violations. Bam’s violation was offensive basket interference. While the ball was partially below the rim, it was also partially in the cylinder. I’m no referee – that was a close call but probably correct.

    1. Kevin C

      That’s dumbest shlt I’ve read in a while. How the fuq can the ball be outside AND below the rim, and still be “partially in the cylinder”??

    2. mostdiggity

      OK, I meant to say 3:28 left in the game. goaltending is nowhere involved in this play.

    3. za

      Nah, the above view shows that they missed it.

    4. therubberman1

      I did not mention the ball being outside the rim. I said the ball was partially in the cylinder and partially below the rim. Both of these facts are disputable, but a solid argument could be made for basket interference in this case, even with slow motion replay (goaltending is eliminated since the ball is partially below the rim). I’d suggest about 10% of the ball was still in the cylinder and about 10% was below the rim when Bam flicked it.

      The refs probably got this right but wouldn’t have been criticized for not calling it either.

  10. Kevin C

    If you put Higgins, Tony Greene, Roger Ayers, Doug Sirmons, and Doug Shows in a car, and sent it careening off a seaside cliff into shark-infested waters, I’d be rooting for the sharks for sure.

    1. ClutchCargo

      I would think it was tragic that Ted Valentine wasn’t also in that car.

    2. Kevin C

      Damn, I knew I was forgetting at least one. Oh well, I’ll just push TV Ted off the cliff myself.

    3. runningunnin.454

      Sharks gotta eat, same as the worm.

  11. nicky

    Thanks Drew!

  12. portscan

    The offensive basket interference was the correct callS the Ball was still on the rim when Bam touched it in. The other calls and missed calls were atrocious.

    1. leon singleton

      Bull shit Bam was late getting to the rim and the ball was outside the rim and falling.

    2. jsh2001

      I think the point is it was still touching the iron as clearly shown in the above gifs which makes it basket interference even though it was clearly out of the cylinder and on the way down.

    3. Sentient Third Eye

      Both were so close that they were borderline even on replay, but the burden of proof in this case is to prove there was a violation. Without a clear knowledge that Bam did interfere, there should have been no call. Thus, the correct call in both cases was a no-call. There is no case to make to support those whistles.

    4. ClutchCargo

      I’m in no way defending these terrible refs, but there really isn’t a burden of proof here. It’s a split second judgment call. It was a bad call and the replay camera angle is deceiving, but it is what it is.

  13. Mathlete

    I will rarely ever compliment the NFL’s officiating on anything, but they do one thing that I wish the NCAA would adopt: they review the officials after every week and the postseason is exclusively officiated by the highest rated officiating teams. The NCAA wouldn’t even have to try very hard to do something similar to ensure that the players determine the outcome instead of the zebras:

    There are 8 sites in the first two rounds and each site hosts 4 games through Thursday and Friday and 2 games Saturday and Sunday, surely there are at least 24 officials good enough to call the first round games (2 trios at each site splitting the games up over Thursday and Friday to allow them to rest between games, refs get tired too) and then each trio gets to call one of the second round games at their site.

    On Monday, the officials would be graded by the NCAA and the 12 best rated individuals would move on to call the next two rounds of games, who would then compete among themselves the same way to be the 6 who would get the honor (and payday) of calling the Final Four and the three to call the title game. The biggest games get the best officials available this way and the clowns get sent packing.

  14. keiths

    Yeah, he is so bad they just named him to do the final 4! WTF? He’s doing the fugging FINAL FOUR!

    1. Kevin C

      He has to follow through, and finish the job…..get UNC another NC.

    2. Blue Jesus

      UNC is still playing aren’t they? I certainly wouldn’t expect him to quit on his team before the end of their run!

    3. 4everblue

      He still has Vegas in his back pocket!

  15. Lip Man 1

    Well done by Drew.

  16. johnnybball

    Hanging on the rim. How come no one is talking about Maye hanging on rim after his missed dunk attempt. That is basket interference since ball went in afterwards. Easy call. Big miss by zebras

    1. catsarerunnin

      Was just about to post the same thing. Another blatant missed call.

    2. symphonist41169

      He also traveled before taking that last shot. No call.

  17. sckysportsink

    Is it true that UNC presented Higgins with the game ball??? I think that eventually technology (cameras, buzzers and headsets) need to replace short, slow humans that can’t get in position to make a call. Leave one on the floor and three in the booth to officiate. When two buzz in on the same call, they make a call upstairs. If they disagree, it’s a jump ball unless the floor official or the third booth official makes the call. The booth official (with review available) would have priority.

    1. macsauce13

      You know how there are really, really good ideas? And sometimes there are pretty bad ideas as well?

      Well, your idea is not one of the really, really good ones.

  18. WeareBBN

    The basket interfer call was so close, I think it was a missed call but live that is very hard to call/not call so can see that one either way. The foul on the tip in IS a foul. Bam uses his off arm all over the shoulder/neck/head area of the unc player. First Bam has both arms extended towards the ball but then he uses the left and does foul, is actually an easy call.

    1. trav55

      Like is posted after this comment, bam was fouled on the original shot before he tipped it in. Meeks’ arm is wrapped around bam as he spins to his right I believe. Clear foul

    2. WallKnightMonk

      Yes I saw the “arm wrap” multiple times – it is rarely called, but when it alters the path/effort of a player, seems that it should be called.

      If they are going to call Monk touching a dudes hip on a 3, they need to call the wrap around.

    3. symphonist41169

      Plus, Berry threw more chicken wings on his drives than you can find at a KFC. Colonel Sanders would be proud of him.

  19. trav55

    Drew franklin, please do me a favor. Go back and look at the bam over the back tip in call and watch when bam shoots his first shot in the post. Meeks has his arm wrapped around bam near the waste and that too, obviously, was a no call.

    1. 4everblue

      I’m with Greg!!

      Greg Anthony‏Verified account @GregAnthony50 Mar 26
      More
      Lot of people saying Cal underachieves at Kentucky! Lol, I can think of a lot of schools/coaches who wish they could underachieve like that!

  20. WallKnightMonk

    I think what needs to be pointed out concerning all this is that the whistle blew AFTER we gained the advantage.

    On the loose ball w/ Willis, the whistle blew AFTER we had the ball in hand and were ready to push it down the floor.

    The whistle blew on Bam for “over the back” AFTER the tip in was good.

    I don’t remember others as clearly, but it seemed like the whistle was late on most, if not all, of the questionable calls. But on other calls, it was normal.

    I can remember 2 or 3 instances AFTER the Bam over the back call that a UNC player leaned over a smaller UK player, bent forward and stretched their arms outwards AND forwards over the UK player – no whistle. If jumping straight up and raising your arms straight up is an over the back, the others HAVE to be.

    I’m not the type to blame REFs for a loss, but this is the closest I have EVER come. I’m nearly convinced it is at an extreme a grand conspiracy against Cal, UK and the 1-and-done meme and at worst it is a case of sour grapes/personal grudge that these REFs have against Cal, UK or favoritism for the other team.

    I think UNC is better team by a slight margin, but as I read somewhere else, if Uk played UNC 10 times, each team would win 5 times.

    1. WeareBBN

      yet maybe if Cal coached the last 5 minutes we win. We were up 5 and on a roll, Ole Roy calls a TO baby and switches to zone. Our young team was confused and the heels went on a 12-0 run. Cal SHOULD have called a TO when they cut it to 1 or took the lead by 1 at the latest. Also Cal took Hump out about that 5 minute mark and put in “no D” Willis who gave up points all night {season too} including not guarding his guy who hit the winner. Roy made an adjustment, Cal did not. Cal said after the game he told his staff in the timeout they would probably come out in zone, why not prepare the young team for that or make your own TO and do it. No matter, June is around the corner so Cal will shine for what matters most to him.

    2. TBW3011

      The worst. The absolute worst. Check out the possessions against zone again and pay attention. We got better shots against zone than man. Wide open 15 footer. Bam stripped on a dunk. Monk wide open 3. Willis wide open 3. All against zone. All misses. So tired of hearing people spew this crap.

    3. runningunnin.454

      BBN; what are you crying about…your team’s still in it; you can cheer for Roy and NC to you heart’s content. But, you better get those boys to class, the accreditation people aren’t going to swallow that forever.

    4. CATandMONKEY

      BBN is not a UK fan. His facetious screen name is evidenced in every post.
      If only BBN were our coach UK would have 12 titles by now.

  21. CalForTheWin

    Here is a video compilation of all the bad calls for anyone interested.

    https://vimeo.com/210359968

  22. ScoggDog

    “With all that said, Kentucky still pulled ahead to a five-point lead with five minutes to go in the game, so the first half whistle isn’t the reason why the Cats lost. Kentucky lost because it needed more from De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk offensively, and because North Carolina is the best team in the country. Higgins’ whistle didn’t help UK’s chances, but the blame doesn’t fall on the guys in stripes.”

    Bullshit.

    If Team A outplays Team B by two points … but the officials slide Team B three points in calls … are the officials the reason why Team B won ?

    OF COURSE !!!

    By your argument – a team must play a perfect game before they can be hurt by the officials. But that makes no sense – because the officials can help ANY team … not just a perfect team.

    Dude … you’re just one of those people addicted to the notion that the game is somewhat fair. And that’s bullshit. The game ain’t always.

    1. bluetide

      Man, you SAID it! Perfect words!

    2. 4everblue

      Can I get a AMEN?

    3. jsh2001

      The problem I have with this is 2 or 3 points taken off the board early in the first half does not necessarily equate a 2 or 3 point difference later in the game. It changes the pace of the game, the strategy, so many factors can play out differently if those 2-3 points are on the board. Roy might have switched to a zone earlier and beat us by 10, we might have taken the lead earlier and kept it. The point is we really don’t know what those points mean to the final score.

      Quite frankly I am embarrassed as a UK fan at the whining and complaining over the officiating. Sure the officiating was bad, especially in the first half but at the end of the day we had a 5 point lead with 5 minutes to go, the crowd behind us, and all of the momentum. We didn’t score for about 4 minutes after getting that 5 point lead and that is why we aren’t gearing up for Phoenix.

    4. TBW3011

      And our problem is we’ll never know. That opportunity was taken away.

  23. Rixter

    After the Fox mugging, the UNC player took 3 steps back while holding the ball, then stepped on the baseline, still 3 seconds on the clock. Higgins missed all 3 calls

  24. G Mo

    Not saying the call were right or wrong… but as a former referee one of the first things you are taught as you move up is to hold your whistle and wait to see if the contact / foul causes the team in possession to lose the ball. If they don’t lose it you don’t call the foul, they do lose it you call it. Not saying it’s right… just saying that is what is taught. Same with and ones, that is why some are called blatantly late, if the ball goes in you don’t call the foul…. misses the shot you call it. As for the the refs that move on… they are graded and assigned regional semis and regional finals from the first and second round action and then subsequently from there to the final four.

    1. ScoggDog

      By that rationale … you play Pitino Ball. Slap and Slap and Slap away from the ball.

      You know – like UNC just did.

      I love these defenses of the officials. Keep ’em coming.

    2. 4everblue

      I think Higgins was trained by the odds makers. There is NO defense for this POS!

    3. runningunnin.454

      That’s all hogwash. How many times do refs see a player beat his man, and is on a clear path to the basket, and they call the foul on the floor, and the basket is negated…even if the touch foul has no bearing on the play.
      I would never reward the defense that way.

    4. TBW3011

      False

  25. TheBigjMan55

    Where can I sign the petition?

  26. Adam

    http://www.rooferees.com/about-us/

    Can we get a gofundme to put this guy on blast in Omaha?!?

  27. bradbcats

    I put a link to this post on his website.
    http://www.rooferees.com

    1. bluetide

      Well done. Keep fighting the good fight.

    2. Adam

      Awesome. Dude is trash.

  28. bluegrassstu

    As i reach for my violin, wine, and cheese, i am pleading with the NCAA to stop this tournament and give the Cats and us fans the trophy. It is rightfully ours.

  29. 4everblue

    I’m guessing Vegas owns him!

    1. runningunnin.454

      The NCAA owns him, and he sells his honor for their corrupt agenda. He didn’t miss all the no-calls…he just ignored them.

  30. Poppschmidty

    I agree with all of them…except the goal tending call. The ball was still on the rim.

    1. Mc12

      wrong

  31. LilBrother
  32. Catsby80

    I’m going to have an unpopular opinion here, but all this whining about the officiating is so tired and pathetic. Were there missed calls? Absolutely. Were there missed calls that favored both teams throughout the course of the game? Yes. It is impossible to look at one thing and say definitively that is the reason team A beat team B, but in a game that comes down to the last possession, i think you have to look at a few things that contributed:

    1) our 3 starting guards were 3-8 from the free throw line (briscoe was 1-4)
    2) we had a 4:30 drought with only 5:15 remaining in the game – unacceptable. one layup during that stretch would’ve turned out to be monumental.
    3) 17 rebounds surrendered to Kennedy Meeks – unacceptable.

    Quit blaming the officials. We had every opportunity to win this game. Blaming the officiating is petty and a waste of time.

    1. Willis Wolf Tattoo

      Mulder and Willis going 0-6 for 3 didn’t help either.

  33. mj7juice

    Higgins is a complete joke. He has shown time after time that he doesn’t possess the intelligence to be an official. His competence is remarkably low. If the NCAA want in cohoots with UNC, this guy should be fined & suspended for his mockery of the game. It’s a problem when you let an official with ego take over a game. I’m all for letting the players decide the game, not letting one team having the ability to foul on every possession and play with no regard to standard calls (over the back, push offs, holding). I’m still furious. It genuinely was a miracle that game was decided by two points with all the one sided calls. The no call for Fox at the end of the first, Monk pushed down in front of official, Berry pushing off, Meeks playing goon basketball with bear hugs and continuous over the backs, Maye hanging on the rim, Willis loose ball foul. Sure UK had the opportunity to win but Huggins made every call to be atrocious. Pathetic.

  34. Ranch

    Best post ever on KSR….this should be sent to NCAA and demand he is banned from UK Wildcats games. The dude obviously hate Cal.

  35. Catsby80

    For the people who are trying to put this guys personal life and his “real job” on blast, that is pathetic, too. You’re giving the bbn and our collective fanbase a bad reputation. I know it’s pointless to try and speak rationally with some of you all, but dear god. Get a grip.

  36. Wildcat Sheli

    Thank you, Drew! It’s about time we lifted our collective voices on this issue! I’m tired of saying “Not. Over. It.” after the Wisconsin loss. It’s time to do something or it will keep happening! The BBN is being heard. And the actions–and non-actions–of Higgins are being exposed.

  37. Rogue3

    Let’s not forget about another 6 important points taken away from UK. The ‘common’ foul called on Dom when he was driving to the basket where he was fouled while he was in the drive, both feet off the ground, basket goes in. Loss of points and FT attempt. The foul on Willis when he hurt his back should have been a non shooting foul as he landed on the player before he shot, then the player shoots and scores and 1. Those and the GT calls takes a lot of important points off the board.

  38. motorcitywings

    BBN is inspiring me. We have to keep the heat up on Higgins. He CAN’T be allowed to officiate another game after this season. The way he called that game was reckless in regards to one team and somebody could have been hurt. There is no way an official could have made the amount of mistakes he made on accident. I’ve never felt this way about an official in my nearly 30 years of watching college basketball. His actions were inexcusable. College basketball means a lot to the players and the fans. We should not tolerate the amount of disrespect he showed the game on Sunday. It’s deplorable.

  39. Cletus

    I swear to god them kids deserve better en that, this guy should be reparmanded, why are we always the escape goat of officatin, bbn is the best there is and that’s that, even my sister says the same thing about the game, my dog rollo is upset, man I can stand they riped the game strait from these boys and a bad gooltendin call no good fer nothen referres

  40. Vgb19201920

    I think North Carolina deserve the win they led the game pretty much from start to finish and we have to give them credit there defense shut down Fox and Monk at the end of the day the fouls were pretty even and I think North Carolina just has the better team this year with the size and the depth in fact this could’ve easily been a blowout if North Carolina been shooting better!!!!