Congrats to Lindsey Vonn for winning gold and then snuggling up next to the fire with me. She also was rumored to have bloodied Drew Franklin’s lip at a recent ski meet.
I seem go on this rant about every 2 months or so, and after the MSU game, it needs to be said again: in my 20+ years following UK athletics, I have NEVER seen a game that was 100% decided by officials. I have NEVER seen a game that was 50% decided by officials. The only game I can truly say I think an official decided the outcome of was the Ohio St.-Miami national title game from 2003, when a phantom pass inference kept alive a game that should have ended. Yet, officials get more bull crap blame after a team loses or especially as the game goes on. The reason is simple: fans find it too difficult to admit their team EARNED a loss or the other team EARNED the win, so they blame it on the neutral party, officials. It couldn’t be that the head coach didn’t make a good enough game plan, it HAD TO be that touch foul with 6 minutes left in the game that was the ultimate decider.
On Tuesday night, it was Bulldog fans who were upset, as 10 fouls were called on them in the last 8 minutes of the game and zero were called on UK, not to mention there was a goal tending that was missed. Did the officials make the wrong call in a couple instances, YES! But, what about when they let John Wall slice down the lane for an important 3-point play in overtime, that wasn’t more important? What about Rick Stansbury leaving Varnado in with 3 fouls early in the 2nd half, and bringing him back with 4 fouls with 7 minutes left? Funny, I haven’t heard any Bulldog fan blame the loss on those boneheaded moves.
And don’t for one second think I only pointing fingers at other fanbases, because the UK fanbase is a repeat offender in this little problem. Our fanbase (minority as they may be) whine and complain more about officiating than just about anybody I know. Well, take this stat in my friends: this season, 424 fouls have been called against UK, or 16.3 a game. Opponents of UK have been called for 548 fouls this season, or 21.1 a game.
OK BTI, you might say, but since SEC play started, the officials have been particularly terrible, especially against UK. OK, in the 11 conference games so far, UK has been called for 193 fouls, or 17.5 a game. Opponents have been called for 237 fouls, or 21.5 a game. A lot of people claim that Demarcus Cousins gets pushed and shoved and elbowed more than anybody, and gets no calls to show for it. In SEC play, Cousins has shot more free throws than any other player in the league. So if the officials have been bad to UK, the stats do not back that up.
Now look, I am not gonna sit here and say the officiating has been GOOD this season, because it hasn’t. Officials have gotten in the habit of calling plays before they happen and relying on the monitor far too often, leading to cheap fouls in some cases and hesitation in others. But, we have got to get past this idea that refs screw UK more than any other team and that officials have a LEGITIMATE impact in the outcome of a game. If you believe that officials have that much of an impact, then you must also think the officials have been HUGE for UK this season, because we are 25-1.
Me, I tend to think our wins and losses come from players and coaches.
1) Jody Demling dives a little deeper in one of UK’s top commitments in the football Class of 2010.
2) Ranking the Top 10 college basketball conferences this season. The SEC comes in at #5, with the statement “It’s Kentucky and everybody else”.
3) Coming in at #4 on the Best NCAA Tournament Games of the Decade: George Mason-UCONN in 2006
4) A whole generation ruined by Dave Matthews Band (WARNING: NSFW)