Thirteen unlucky minutes (TL;DNR-This is a bit of rant about the refs)

Submitted by docwhoblocked on April 5th, 2018 at 1:14 AM







First let me appologize and say thanks to my son Sam.  He talked me into going to the game in San Antonio.  He had decided to go and encouraged me to consider going with him. I fussed over it for about three days then started checking airline flights and realized there was no way to do it without spending thousands of dollars. He had purchased tickets and was going with or without me. This created in me serious case of FOMO.  I am old enough that I might not get another chance to watch us play for another national championship. So I wrangled the air and car and hotel and called Sam to let him know I was in.

I love him even more because he asked me to go with him even though I was once called the worst fan in America by Bobby Knight in a post game interview after we beat Indiana at Crisler many years ago. I harrassed him from the second row behind the Indiana bench for the whole game. Sam knows that I am always cry about the refs. He hates it when I crab about them but he still called me and asked me to go to the games with him anyway.  Thanks Sam. I love you very much. I explained to him that I was just spending his inheritance anyway.

Sam was fortunate that we were too far away during the Loyola game to be sure about ref calls. We were in the upper deck. We were seated close to some Michigan fans and enjoyed the struggle and the comeback win over Loyola so I was less crabby than usual. The seats were actually pretty good if you did not care about the officiating and just wanted to watch the game. We celbrated the win over Loyola only briefly as we watched Villanova completely destroy Kansas in a matter of minutes the way we had Texas A and M. The next day, the experts were picking Villanova 80% to beat us.  We had a sense of forboding and talked for hours about what strategy might beat what looked like a super team.  We found last minute tickets and watched the Spurs beat the Rockets on Easter Sunday. They played great defense and shut down Harden almost completely. This gave me some hope that our D could shut down Brunson and companuy but it was not to be. 

Speaking of Brunson, while waiting in line for breakfast on Monday, we spoke with a Michigan grad who was at the game to root for Villanova. When Brunson was in high school in Chicago, Brunson was his sons baby sitter.  There he was, a Michigan grad with a Villanova shirt on ready to go to the game with his son. They had come to see Brunson play in the national title game. He had no mixed emotions. He said Brunson was a wonderful young man and I believe him.

We decided to get the best seats we could for the championship game. Ticket prices were falling as Kansas and Loyola fans bailed.  We got excellent seats opposite the Michgan bench in the 12th row.  This meant that I was crabbing all of the first half of the game game about bad calls and crabbing at the Villanova fan next ot me. I was sure we were getting hosed. My son had to tell me multiple times to chill and leave the Villanova fans alone. 

Looking back, things really began to fall apart at the 13 minute mark. It was the downside of a full moon which for me had always been a dicey night when I was on call as a young doctor. We started the game strong defensively and had no fouls over the first 7 minutes. We had hit a couple threes and they had missed some well contested threes. The score is 14 to 8. I am feeling pretty good. Then it starts to happen. Just about every call starts going against us and the refs seem blind to the same fouls when committed by Villanova. I get crabby and Sam has to remind me over and over to chill. By the end of the half, I know we are doomed and I am feeling like the refs have stolen it. Other than DiVincenzo, we have been pretty much shut down but we are in more foul trouble. By the time we are down by double digits going away in the second half, I have stopped crabbing about the calls but those 13 minutes of the first half were haunting me. I decided to wait until I was home and had some time to grieve a bit before I watched a TV replay to see if I was correct that we were getting hosed. 

We were. You can use this guide to watch the game again if you can stand it. You will see how one sided the refs were. On the other hand we couldn't hit an open three and that was probably our doom not the refs. So here is the 13 minute sequence of doom. It made me feel better to know that I can still know a hosing when I see one.  


12:50- Rahk has just made a three and tries another long one and he gets an elbow in the chest from POY as he finishes. No call. (Robinson was wide open for a pass right at the 3 point line).

12:44- We fail to get back in transition. This leads to a three pointer made on the other end by Donte (You Know Who).

12:26- Rahk drives to the hoop and gets pushed pretty firmly in the back but makes the layup. This is probably an ok no call except..

12:06- …immediately on the other end YKW drives to the hoop is barely pushed by Simpson and we get called.  It’s back to back to back identical plays. They get a call we do not. 

11:51- Poole get fouled on a layup and makes the foul shot. 

11:40- Simmons is leans into the POY as the ball is coming up. POY spins grabs Simmons arm and pulls him over his back. Foul called on Simmons.  I suppose this is just a crafty move but the ref who calls it is behind the play and cannot see POY grab Simmons arm. On the subsequent inbounds he gets the ball and jumps sideways into Simmons as he is sliding and giving ground thus making contact and throwing his head back to make it look like it was Simmons initiating the contact. I suppose this was just another crafty move.  Announcer says “Kind selling it a little bit but as POY you can do that”.

11:18- They miss a 3 and Poole gets totally head smacked over the back and they get the ball and missed another 3 and Robinson blocks out YKW very nicely but as YKW falls down and Robinsons elbow is at a level the touches his face and Robinson is called for a foul on a good box out. Basically, two over the back calls in a row missed.

10:02- Wagner get a pass near the baseline and is pushed hard with two hands in the back and gets no call. He has to spin back and the ball gets stripped and there is a scramble that could have been a foul on anyone so it is a jump. After the inbounds, Wagner gets an open 3 and air balls it as the clock runs down. My sense of doom begins.

9:45- YKW runs the ball up after the miss. Rhak strips it and the ball hits his chin from the force of the strip and he throws his head back and Rhak gets called. You can see this is not a foul on the slo mo replay but in real time it looks bad. Soon after Brunson carries the ball right in front of the ref and no call.

8:56- Mathews is down to just seconds to shoot and is probably fouled on the shot but close.

8:30- Livers misses an open 3. On the rebound, YKW goes over the back on Teske and POY gets the rebound right under him and throws a full hard deliberate shoulder into Teske as he goes up the floor right in front of the ref. No call.  

8:20- Simpson strips the POY which actually helps him as he regains his dribble and drives and shoulders in again on Teske who is helping. Hegets minor contact and then sells the foul. Three of these in 5 minutes. They score off the next inbounds and it is now 21 to 18

7:36- Teske gets a pass from Simpson on the pick and roll. Spellman grabs him and the crowd groans as there is no call. This is at least as much or more contact than POY got on his call against Teske. Spellman then steps into to him twice as he tries to shoot. No call. On the miss, there is a scramble for the rebound and Mathews gets called for a foul.  They make both ends of the one. It is now 21 to 20.

6:45 – We defend well again but then miss two open threes in a row with a good offensive rebound in between. We have not scored in about 5 minutes now. We turned it over several times and missed multiple open threes. At this point I know it is going to be a bad night. We have had seven fouls called on us to one on them over these 5 minutes. We have scored 7 points and they have scored 12.  We have several players with two fouls. It will change the intensity of the defense we can play. They are in the 1 and 1 with over 7 minutes left and are a great free throw shooting team.

6:05 YKW goes off and we are down by 2.

5:45 Rhak drives and gets our first basket in 5 minutes. He is smacked in the face on the way. No call


Over the rest of the half we continue to miss open threes. They get away with a goal tend when they pin Simpson’s ball after it hit the back board and they get possession and then they hit a three. We have gone another three minutes without scoring at this point and we are down by 9 at the half. 

It wonder if the refs were just as bad in the second half but by then I stopped watching the officials and just asssumed that the fix was in. I know that this team deserved better.  I am glad I was there with my son who I love. I know that officiating basketball is hard as I have done it. You only know you have done a decent job when no one notices it. Go Blue. 


Matte Kudasai

April 5th, 2018 at 5:55 AM ^

The refs were awful.  Plain and simple.  Unfortunately, so were we.  We couldn't fall out of a boat and hit water.  How could we possibly shoot so poorly?  Nobody is doubting how good Villanova is, but we didn't shoot the ball well all tournament with the exception of TAM.  It was painful to watch Villanova acting on about half a dozen fouls that were called against us.


April 5th, 2018 at 11:25 AM ^

Not going to look the gift horse of this season too much in the mouth but I've always thought of Beilein's recruiting as focused less on athleticism and boarding and more on the shooters, so to watch us do everything but shoot well was highly dissonant and disappointing in the final.

I'll excuse it to nerves - their guys felt they belonged, having won it two years ago, our guys just seemed to feel out of place.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 5th, 2018 at 4:33 PM ^

I said it the other day that Villanova was a superb team and Michigan was doomed if it couldn't hit any shots.  Nova is a legitimately great team and Michigan needed everything they could get. And if they couldn't hit shots, then forget it.  But it also didn't help that they couldn't get  calls from the refs

It didn't affect the outcome, but the officiating sucked in this game. Nova was phased early on and didn't really know how to respond and they were playing overly physical (esp. Brunson) And if that redhead dude didn't get hot, it could've been interesting.

From what I remember, that and-1 on the redhead they called on Simpson was hilariously bad.  That guy should never ref a Final 4 game again, send his ass to the NIT. I was pissed after that sequence in which Poole got bonked on the head on a rebound and they were climbing on Michigan's backs for every board but when the whistle finally blew it was a call on...Robinson? WTF? It was a somewhat sloppy box-out, but come on. 

And that goaltend - right when M really needed a bucket - seemed like an easy open-and-shut case because it got jammed in the rim, after going off the backboard. I couldn't believe it was Nova ball going the other way and they didn't add 2 points for Michigan.

LIke most of us have said - wouldn't change the outcome, but that doesn't mean the officiating wasn't trash.


April 5th, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^

For all of Nova's greatness, if we hit our season average on 3 point shooting, this is a different game.  For whatever reason, with the exception of one game, our offense went into the crapper during the tourney.  Maybe it was the times when games were played, time between games, travel, who knows...we just couldn't make our threes.


April 5th, 2018 at 7:09 AM ^

The referees had no effect on the outcome of this game:

At halftime, Michigan had been whistled for 9 fouls to Villanova's 7, but had shot 1 more FT than Nova (7-6).

With 13:01 left in the 2nd half, Michigan was in the BONUS!! You think Villanova might have felt hosed at that point with the referees, allowing Michigan to stay in the game? They didn't care because they were up 17 at the time!!

With 13:01 left in the 2nd half, Villanova had been called for 1 more foul than Michigan in the game and had shot 5 more free throws: 11-6. Again, they didn't care because they were up 17 at the time!

As late as 6 minutes left in the game, Michigan had shot 6 more free throws than Villanova (18-12) and had been whistled for 2 less fouls in the game.

Did the referees make mistakes? Of course. They are human. But they didn't "hose" Michigan anymore than they "hosed" Villanova. 

Michigan lost because they didn't play as well as Villanova on Monday night. Period. Why is that so hard to admit instead of blaming the referees?

Hold This L

April 5th, 2018 at 11:55 AM ^

Just because a the fouls are "somewhat even" doesn't mean one team wasn't worthy of more calls. A bunch of the calls on Michigan were downright lazy on the officials part. They also let Nova get away with a number of bumps and hacks on defense. Michigan would get called for Divencenzo jumping 3 feet sideways back into the defender and we would get bodied going up for  a layup while trying to avoid contact and get no call. They had to commit murder in the first half to get called. Then when the game was out of reach they started calling fouls to "even it out". I also hate the argument that Michigan didn't play well so the refs screwing them shouldn't matter. Every athlete on the planet has a bad game or in most cases a lot of bad games no matter how talented they are. Does that mean when one of those games happens they should alos have to play through the refs? That argument is so fucking stupid to anyone who's played at a high level in any sport


April 5th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

I've coached at a high level in sports and I can promise you Michigan coaches aren't bitching about the refs in their internal meetings. Very, very rarely does that happen even in close games.

I also thought adding some actual objective facts as opposed to "bumps and hacks on defense" would better illuminate the situation. Because, in basketball, bumping and hacking occur quite often. Villanova got bumped and hacked and it wasn't called a few times as well, but that clearly doesn't fit your meme (or the original poster's). 

And what made Michigan "more worthy" of more calls? Both teams had roughly the same amount of 2 point shots. 

This "everyone is out to get Michigan" trope is so overplayed at this point it's become an embarassment.

Michigan didn't have to "play through the refs." They needed to play better. They didn't. 


April 5th, 2018 at 6:24 PM ^

Maybe it was even between the two teams upon  unbiased review but the there were plenty of non-calls when Villanova was on defense and the last call on Mo showed absolutely NO contact at any point during the play so clearly the call was BAD/INCORRECT. 

There were bad calls.

Winners play through bad calls but there were bad calls.

Villanova is awesome and I congratulate them on their victory.

kevin holt

April 5th, 2018 at 2:49 PM ^

This post was about the first half which is why they were up so much in the 2nd half. You undermined your own point by pointing out how it was "evened out" in the 2nd half when Villanova didn't care anymore (since they were up by 17). And number of free throws shot just indicates that most of our fouls were shooting fouls while theirs were on the floor---which is because we had to drive and get contact whereas they could draw fouls 50 feet from the basket by turning into a bobblehead.


April 7th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

It was called fairly even in the first half when Villanova had committed 2 less fouls, but took 1 less free throw. And they were up 9.

When the calls started going more against Villanova in the 2nd half and Michigan went on an 11-6 free throw run and Villanova was in foul trouble, Villanova EXPANDED their lead to 17.

It didn't even out in the 2nd half. After a fairly evenly called 1st half, Villanova started picking up fouls, getting into foul trouble, and Michigan gained a significant edge in free throws. And yet Villanova expanded their lead. 

"And number of free throws shot just indicates that most of our fouls were shooting fouls while theirs were on the floor---which is because we had to drive and get contact whereas they could draw fouls 50 feet from the basket by turning into a bobblehead." I'm sure that quote is based on a rigorous analysis of the game.


April 6th, 2018 at 4:34 PM ^

I wouldn't say that they had no effect. Bad reffing or not, I felt like our guys all of a sudden were afraid of playing defense, blocking out, etc. because everything was being called a foul. Villanova got a ton of offensive rebounds that I don't think they would have if the team could have played normal defense.

There were a ton of calls against Villanova on the same end in the second half. I think maybe that one of the refs was more call happy. I was kind of hoping that we would just drive it and try to draw as many fouls as possible in the second half; would have been great if we could get them on their only hot handed player, but oh well.


April 6th, 2018 at 4:34 PM ^

I wouldn't say that they had no effect. Bad reffing or not, I felt like our guys all of a sudden were afraid of playing defense, blocking out, etc. because everything was being called a foul. Villanova got a ton of offensive rebounds that I don't think they would have if the team could have played normal defense.

There were a ton of calls against Villanova on the same end in the second half. I think maybe that one of the refs was more call happy. I was kind of hoping that we would just drive it and try to draw as many fouls as possible in the second half; would have been great if we could get them on their only hot handed player, but oh well.


April 7th, 2018 at 4:18 PM ^

You are flat out wrong. In this case, the fouls called against Michigan all but shut down our defense and opened the flood gates. The equality in number of fouls may be close, but the timing and nature was the turing point. I am not one to blame refs, and without doubt UM could have been more productive from 3...but the refs can make it difficult/impossible to win if they change the tempo and way a team plays...we were hosed.

Schem Bobechler

April 5th, 2018 at 8:02 AM ^

move on!  We had a phenomenal year with success behind the imagination of everyone on this blog.  Back in November nobody thought we would be playing in the Finals.  Kudos to Beilein and Crew!  Onward and upward!

Michigan Arrogance

April 5th, 2018 at 8:22 AM ^

Basketball is the worst sport to watch due to the end of game TOs and the refs.

Sure, football has reff issues and so does hockey and even baseball. But only in basketball is there a call every 90s that you feel like could go either way. One head jerk from the VU PG and there's a foul, 2 mins later same thing is a no call. It's not evenblock/charge anymore it's just straight defense - you can't move to stay with a guy defensively anymore. can't touch him. but then sometimes you can.

thing about that CM dunk attempt - that was the cleanest block of that type I can imagine but you know you were expecting a call until there wasn't. DR gets 2 fouls for just being on the court.

That said, this wasn't a game decided by refs nor was it lopsided against M. that's just basketball.

hockey has 2-3 bad calls a game that are usually no calls which is what you'd prefer. and it's a much tougher game to call. football is the same but holding you could call every play. PI is tough but usually right on the field. Baseball is easy (except balls and strikes at very high levels).


April 5th, 2018 at 4:15 PM ^

The refs had me in a murderous rage but we still lost the game, they didn't give it to Villanova.  Brunson should have fouled out with 15 minutes to play though.  I would have called a technical for his theatrics but that's why I don't ref basketball, I fouled out of most my IM games, lol.

Barn Animal

April 5th, 2018 at 8:47 AM ^

Look, Villanova was in much worse foul trouble than we were, including Brunson. I find it hard to blame the refs for anything when they make it so that the POY can’t play against us.

Communist Football

April 5th, 2018 at 10:19 AM ^

But aside from the fact that our 3 point shooting was the real reason for the loss, I'd say I've been impressed with the reffing over the course of the tournament and also the Big Ten Tournament. Aside from the title game, I thought that the reffing was even and reasonable -- letting incidental contact go, for example.


April 5th, 2018 at 10:45 AM ^

Watched with friends and we all were discussing how the refs seemed to have an agenda. From when Michigan was up 7 to when Nova got up 15 this went on.  

Michigan lost because they couldn't hit their shots and Nova had someone that couldn't miss. If the game had remained close though, I don't doubt that we would have ended up extremely salty about the zebras.


April 5th, 2018 at 4:16 PM ^

I felt the same way - that stretch was such a clear indicator of doom.

The phantom +1 call on Simpson was where I really felt things start to shift in their favor, and that string of calls could not be overcome - terrible shooting or not on our end.

The two fouls on Robinson within 20 seconds pretty much doomed his night from a shooting perspective and the rest of the team followed right along from there.


April 5th, 2018 at 11:18 AM ^

In such a short post! No charts? Graphs? Any PROOF the game was "fixed"???

And if fixed, why Villanova? WHy not Belein, peachy, squeaky, angelic clean? Why not Michigan? PURE crap. Paranoia is a helluva drug.

It would be nice to read somehing intelligent about the game. But NOOOOO. All we get is pure D whining about refereeing. Michigan was BOINKED, and out of it when Villanova went up 25-23.

Michigan looked fatigued and intimidated. The only weapon was Wagner and they had too many good, physical, athaleets for him to battle while the others stood around with their hands on their hips.

Michigan CLANKED open-look threes with regularity.

Villanova's defense came in just about as highly ranked as Michigan's; Villanova had the highest ranked offense in the land. BAD COMBO.

Michigan's offense never clicked in the tournament except during the TAMU game. For pete's sake, they only scored 61 against something called "Montana Something or other"

They never played a seed higher than a 5. 

Villanova, I think, was UNDEFEATED when they had all their players together this season.

Michigan forgot to gaurd someone who lit them up for 31 points.

Michigan had three starters who were about as useful as a bowl of jellybeans.

But, yeah. Referees.

The funniest part, though, was bumping into a "Michigan grad" who just happened to be the babysitter for Jalen Brunson. 

I give this OP five fakes out of five.


Gulo Gulo Luscus

April 5th, 2018 at 3:02 PM ^

Nova was better. We lost because we clanked.

OP still makes some fair assessments, though there are surely several that went the other way if you look for them (without Maize-colored glasses).

Babysitter story is true, or at least that individual did in fact say Brunson watched his kid. I can confirm because I was there. Love ya dad!


April 6th, 2018 at 11:54 AM ^

The OP may make fair assessments, but he has cherry picked facts to support his argument.  I would guess that someone could go through and find X number of plays that could be argued in Villanova's favor.  Duncan Robinson was armbarring everyone every time they put a dribble down on him.

That's basketball.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 5th, 2018 at 4:56 PM ^

So - do you disagree with the substance of the post?  Do you think those calls/non-calls were justified? 

All those things you said are correct as well, but I don't understand why its so taboo to question the officials.  It's not whining, its just pointing something out and I don't think its unreasonable.  If it sucks, it sucks. Sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade.

I don't believe there is a 'fix' or a conspiracy to screw Michigan out of wins, but I do think there is a crisis of officiating at the college level and it affects games.   


April 5th, 2018 at 7:49 PM ^

Yes, I disagree with the substance of the post. From the babysitting message board "I just bumped into ... at WalMart" stories which always appear here to the whining about referees.

Basketball is at a crisis--that I agree. And yes--officiating is part of the problem. The game is torture to watch. Officiating is subjective, inconsistent, and downright horrible. BUT they ALL play with the same officials. And as someone pointed out before, the discrepancy was in MICHIGAN's favor in terms of free throw shooting for most of the game.

When your sixth man is Duncan Robinson and theirs is DiVincenzo--game over.

Now, this board and every Michigan board is becoming nothing but a bitch and excuse fest over officiating. It is unbearable to read and unbearable to fathom how so many guys just whine and complain so freaking much over something that is and always has been wrong with this sport. AND IT WON'T CHANGE.

So, it is OK to question them, but this board is a GroupThink whinefest about it and the epidemic of bitching about referees really maks for some pathetic theatre.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 6th, 2018 at 12:30 PM ^

Here's the thing: the box score/foul count don't tell the entire story of officiating. Sometimes it does, but in many cases if a team is getting more calls, that doesn't mean it is benefitting from the officiating. Of course, the box score doesn't include missed calls. In fact, I would argue that Nova should've been called for more fouls, they were by far the more physical team. Also - ever watch a Big East game? It's the most physical league in college basketball- Georgetown-St. John's games are like wrestling matches. Villanova plays that way too.

Watch this:  

Go to about 50 seconds in in the video. Thats the +1 on Simpson, the replay from behind the glass shows virtually no contact. I can't explain it. There's no way he should be whistled for a foul there- maybe his left arm is making slight contact? That call is absolute trash and the dude made this call in the championship game. That's one point off the board there.  

Go to 1:38 in the video. Di-Whateverhisfuckingnameis makes a good move on Rahkman and gets another +1. There is admittedly more contact here but its still farily negligible.  I would say that 60-70% of the time, officials let that go. And I would argue if you call anything there, it should be on the floor. Fine - then its 1-and-1 at that point. At most its two points, possibly one, possibly none, but not 2/3. Comparatively, Michigan did not get these calls on the other end when there was significantly worse contact. 

The goaltend happens at 2:35 in the vid. Ball goes off the glass, a part of it is above the rim, Di-blahblahblah hits it, hits it again, knocking it down slightly, and its pinned on the backboard and a portion if it is still above the rim. EVERY REF IN THE FUCKING WORLD calls that a goaltend. That's 2 points off the board for Michigan. 

In all, that's a 3 to 6 point swing in favor of Villanova, in an important stretch of the game when Michigan was trying to tread water and Nova was taking momentum. And these are only the DiVincenzo plays. There were others, on rebounds, on drives and while defending Brunson that aren't included.  

The officiating was trash, it was a fact. I don't think anyone was out to get them or anything but the officiating was poor and it unfortunately negatively affected Michigan. There are other reasons they lost the game but it had an effect. The NCAA can do something about it- you're probably right - it won't change but it could. They need to take a hard look at how the games are officiated.


April 5th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

"On the other hand we couldn't hit an open three and that was probably our doom not the refs." This is what I said and I warned you that it was a rant.  You did not have to read it.  The Brunson story is true as my son posted to confirm.  Every word above can be confirmed by watching the game on replay.  I wrote it mostly as therapy for my frustration. This team far exceeded all expectations and I really wanted them to be champions out of appreciation for a great season. 


April 5th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

"On the other hand we couldn't hit an open three and that was probably our doom not the refs." This is what I said and I warned you that it was a rant.  You did not have to read it.  The Brunson story is true as my son posted to confirm.  Every word above can be confirmed by watching the game on replay.  I wrote it mostly as therapy for my frustration. This team far exceeded all expectations and I really wanted them to be champions out of appreciation for a great season. 


April 5th, 2018 at 7:24 PM ^

It is obvious to me that he was talking about a figurative fix, as in the deed was complete, whether intentional or not.  I haven't seen anyone claim that the incorrect calls were intentional.  I suspect that the refs just believe that a certain style of play is appropriate and another style is inappropriate.  Michigan does not play with a hand on the back and Villanova does.  The refs were looking to make certain calls and  were not looking to make other calls.  

I thought it odd that whoever did not come down with the rebound or loose ball was called for a foul when for both sides if you came down with the loose ball it was not because you pushed someone out of the way.


April 5th, 2018 at 11:28 AM ^

That string of calls in the first half certainly affected the game Michigan was playing.  It forced them to be tentative on both offense and defense, put some key players on the auto-bench for the rest of the half (DR, along with MAAR and Z for long stretches), and sapped confidence.  The shooting struggles all started in that stretch - they had opened the game by hitting most of thier shots.  

Contrast that stretch in the first half with the opening of the second half, where Nova was called for 4 or 5 quickies.  Michigan hung around, getting it down to 9 or 10 points, but couldn't do anymore than that.  In the first half, Michigan lost its poise - started shooting ugly, couldn't score, eased off the defense, and lost the lead.  In the second half, Nova weathered the storm by hitting shots and staying active.

The real difference between teams can be seen between those stretches of play with (seemingly) unbalanced officiating - how each team handled it.  Michigan did not handle it well, Villanova did.  And that speaks to the relative team talent base - Nova was a legit championship contender all year, and Michigan wasn't.  They were better equipped to handle adversity in that game.

The refs did not lose this game for Michigan.  The impact they did have, though, highlighted the difference between the two teams.  A difference which, I believe, would have shown itself through the course of the game anyway.

You Only Live Twice

April 5th, 2018 at 11:29 AM ^

You spent time with your son and gave us a great writeup.

Hitting 3s would have made up for the bad calls, seems to be the consensus.  What do you think about the momentum effect, more than the points, from the "ref" situations?  Many people (my son among them) do not believe in momentum.  For pro sports I would agree.  For college, I have always thought, and still do, that momentum is huge.  




April 5th, 2018 at 11:49 AM ^

If momentum were a thing, you'd be able to find it in the statistics.  Basically, you'd expect a team to have a higher chance to score when "hot" and a lower chance to score when "cold."  Many people have gone looking for it.  I've yet to see a single study that's actually found it.

I think it's a theme for the thread -- listen to your son. :)

You Only Live Twice

April 5th, 2018 at 12:56 PM ^

a smart kid.  Both kids are. :)

I don't think there's a way to study a concept like momentum.  The team that is "cold",  is characterized, by many comments here over the years, to basically change how they are approaching the game.  Joe Bolden's ejection changing the character of Michigan defense for the second half.  I have no idea how anyone could capture that in data that could become studies, therefore I never expect to find any study.  Arguably in the final analysis you can conclude it shouldn't matter, and I agree to a point it shouldn't..  It's unlikely the M-Nova game would have had a different outcome.  Highly unlikely (yet can't be ruled out 100%).   I guess my question is, how much evidence does it take.  This year's M-OSU game is probably the best example.  No one is asking for perfect refs or a standard that can't exist. 

It's just as unreasonable, to assert that the refs absolutely don't affect a game, as it is to say that they decide the games.  If the scale is 1-100, with 1 being no effect and 100 being a fix, can we agree we'd like that number to be closer to 25?  A level of uncertainty/bad liuck or incompetence that a good team CAN overcome?


April 5th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

There is, though.  You pick your definition and then look to see how events after that point relate to events before it.

For example, you might define a team that's scored 6 consecutive points to be "hot."  So, then you look at the next possession -- how likely is the opposition to score a basket?  How likely is the team who's hot?  etc.

Bolden's ejection is a difficult one just because the sample size is smaller; most of these studies are done in baseball, since there's so much of it and it lends itself so well to analysis.  Basketball is close enough, though, as you can use possession-by-possession data to increase the sample size enough for it to be meaningful.

Here's an example article from momentum proponents:…

To summarize: "Nobody can find any evidence of this phenomenon.  However, we believe it exists, despite the fact that you can't find it, because the competitors believe that it exists."

Do streaks happen?  Absolutely.  But the role of random chance in basketball is exceptionally high -- a very good three point shooter misses more often than he makes.  People tend to ascribe to "momentum" what can better be ascribed to "luck."

You'll see the same behavior at a casino -- people will assure you that "black is hot" in roulette (simultaneously, "red is due"), that a particular shooter is "hot" or "cold" at the craps table, or that a blackjack shoe is "hot" or "cold" unless someone "played their cards wrong" to "mess them up."  Most of these are demonstrably false; the only part of that which is true is that a blackjack shoe can be hot or cold, but (a) only at a table without continuous shuffling, (b) only enough to swing your chances between ~45% and ~55%, and (c) it's the cards that remain in the shoe, not the result of the previous hand, that change the probabilities.

The only difference between the two is that more people will defend the concept of momentum in sports because the human skill involved seems to outweigh the luck factor.


April 5th, 2018 at 9:34 PM ^

I get what you’re saying, but roulette tables don’t have emotions, don’t get fatigued, don’t get injured. Athletes are not machines, they are humans, and I don’t think the statistics can quite capture the human variables.


April 5th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

My real question about this is whether or not one-sided ref calls like this have a statistical effect on a team's play and ability to make shots.

Sure, you can chalk this up to bad shooting and just point to the numbers, but before the ref show described above we had the game contained and had made some really tough shots.

When the refs give one team carte blanche defensively and putting the other team's defense on a tight leash, that has to have some kind of quantitative effect on overall confidence and shooting for players on both teams, right?


April 5th, 2018 at 1:24 PM ^

I don't like college officiating. It makes the game clunky. Any contact is a foul. It ruins the action.

Watching NBA and guys getting up and down the court without a freaking whistle every 30 seconds is a breath of fresh air.

Rose Bowl

April 5th, 2018 at 5:30 PM ^

The refs changes the momentum of the game, no doubt.  It's not the only reason we lost.  A lot of people get upset when it's brough up. All you can ask for is consistency.  It wasn't there.


April 5th, 2018 at 6:07 PM ^

...lost in all the Villanova fellation is the fact that refs spent 13 mins hosing us, which forced us to defend differently. Also, Donte-whoever CARRIES THE BALL.Just because he does it 10 inches from the floor doesn't make it any less illegal.

Are they better than us? maybe, but I don't need refs deciding the question for us.


April 5th, 2018 at 6:35 PM ^

NO consipiracy, please.

However, our total domination of Loyola was delayed by some questional calls including a traveling call that was, upon replay, a foul.  Yes, I said it, it was a FOUL, not traveling.


April 5th, 2018 at 7:48 PM ^

I was at the game too and never post on the site but I had to chime in and thank you for posting. I was furious over how the refs backed us off the ball on defense while allowing Villanova to remain aggressive. This threw the team off as they tried to navigate the sudden change in officiating. I was sure I would find the same opinion with other Michigan fans but only found compliments for the opposing team. They are good but our coaches had a great game plan that could have led to an epic game. We missed too many shots for sure but it could have been much more competitive if the calls were consistent. So disappointed.