this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Another game, another series of questionable calls, another torrent of frustration on the MgoBoard.
The B1G is the best conference in basketball this year, but one thing appears to be the same this year as every year: B1G officials let a lot of physical play go, and the games are tough as a result.
In past seasons the question has been asked, "Does this hurt Big Ten teams in the tournament?" The logic being that the NCAA tournament is not called the same way the B1G regular season is. I don't think the contrast in officiating has changed much, but there is one thing that has:
I wonder if Michigan, as it is built this year, is better-suited to winning in the NCAA tournament than in its own conference. As we've progressed into the meat of the conference season, Michigan continues to be good at shooting 3s and moving the ball in transition, but as B1G teams bog games down into half-court grindfests and officials allow muggings underneath the basket, Michigan's penetration offense has become significantly less substantial.
In the tournament, Michigan's ability to stay out of foul trouble will be a big plus, and defenders won't get away with handchecking Burke and mauling our frontcourt. All of the adjustments other B1G teams have to make are ones that come naturally to this club. Won't this play to Michigan's strengths when the games really matter?
When last we met: These teams were #12 and #13. Then half a B1G schedule happened. Now you can pretty much add 10 to those rankings. Indiana beat Michigan by a bucket thanks to 25 points from Christian Whatford and some ridiculous Assembly Hall officiating.
Now the tables have turned, and Michigan enters the game as 3pt favorites. The B1G has shaken out as a battle for second, a lot like we thought it would. And with MSU and Illinois doing their best to set basketball back half a century http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=320310356 Michigan is shaking out as the favorite for that second spot. (You can make an argument for Wiscy here too...but I've seen them in person, and to say I came away unimpressed would be an understatement). But to have a shot to even the score against Ohio, or even to tread water near the top of the B1G standings, Michigan is going to have to win at home.
Michigan should have the advantage in scoring and rebounding, but the hoosiers are projected to protect the ball a little better. http://accuscore.com/game-forecast-previews/college-basketball/indiana-michigan/2-1-2012/gameid,4142/ Jon Horford will not play on Wednesday. Beilein stated that he has been cleared to practice in half court drills, but that Horford has attempted to run full court and "That didn't go well". Whether this is more of an injury issue or a conditioning issue remains to be seen.
Predictions: I like Michigan in a squeaker. Indiana can be a terror when their shots are falling, but I like our defense to irritate them enough at home to put them off their game. I'm looking for a game in the 60's with double doubles from Morgan and Novak. Lets go blue!
I'm curious to what degree referees take the history of two teams into account in how they call a game. When there is a lot of tension and aggression, and a history of dirty play either between two teams, or from at least one of them, don't the referees pay attention? More specifically, especially given the coach comments out of MSU calling for "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness," I could see next year's game between MSU and Michigan called much more tightly. I'd imagine that behind closed doors, several refs are hearing about their failure to eject Gholston or to keep an eye out for what happened.
I don't know whether Gholston, Worthy, or Rush will be playing for MSU next year. However, if they are still on the team, isn't it possible that the officiating crew will be instructed to keep a close eye on them and not to let the game get out of hand?
If that were the case, I could see an automatic ejection from the game for a punch, or helmet twist, or arm bar, etc., in addition to a 15 yard personal foul penalty and automatic first down. If they lose too many players that way, it is Sparty being Sparty, helping Michigan to win the game and calling Dantonio to task for not better coaching and policing his own team.
I'd like to hear from a ref or two on this.
First of all, let me be clear that is not intended to be a screed against the officiating in the last two USMNT games, shaky as it’s been. Thankfully, Donovan banged it home just as I was typing this, so my blood pressure is not as dangerously high.
I’m curious in what sport and level do you think the disparity between the level and officiating is greatest? In other words, high school officials generally aren’t all that great, but overall, the coaches, players and speed of play aren’t exactly elite, either. I try to think of the decisions of officials as part of the playing surface, just like goofy bounces off of boards or turf coming up when a receiver cuts. However, when decisions are consistently bad, it’s really infuriating.
For me, international/professional soccer and college hockey have the absolute worst relative officiating. I can’t think of any other sports where I’ve been closer to stroking out because of refs. It’s even more egregious in soccer since goals are at such a premium, and an official’s call/no-call can directly impact the result of a game.
On the other hand, I generally think NFL and NHL refs are pretty good. Certainly, mistakes happen, but that’s inevitable. It’s the frequency that’s the real issue.
Anyone else getting any schadenfreude out of watching Jim Burr ref the WVU vs. Pitt matchup? announcers, fans and coaches are incredulous.