Saturday, October 14, 2017

After 7 years of "investigating."


Apr 12, 2017 - Maryland’s president said the Tar Heels deserve the death penalty at a recent meeting. ... University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a meeting last week that he believes the NCAA investigation into North Carolina will eventually lead to the “death penalty.”.
Carolina Refs

Apropos that  news,  I recenly found this c.1990s ACC perspective I'd posted to Free Republic.  
  If you were in the stands during the 70's when  Clemson, Virginia or Maryland played any Carolina team, you were bound to hear the derisive chant Carolina Refs several times during the game.  Perhaps it was the debacle of the 1976 Olympic Game loss suffered by team USA against Russia that made biased officiating a focal point.  And maybe we were all wrong, but it seemed real enough.  At the time I handicapped ACC teams chances of getting an evenly called game from referees Hank Nichols,  Jim Hernjak, Jim Howell or  Lou Moser this way:
  • UNC - Great teams, great records and always eight men on the floor
  • Duke - Could get away with murder, except against the Heels
  • Wake - lousy teams, but they had help
  • NCSU - too blue collar for the refs?
  • Virginia - not from Carolina, but snotty enough to almost be from Durham
  • Maryland - never forgiven for breaking the ACC's color line
  • Clemson - The USC Gamecocks were hated, but they left.  Clemson is from S. Carolina.
    Of course, as a Maryland fan, it is their games I remember.  Like the one in 1978 when Albert King was racing down the sideline for what would have been the tying basket in a 66-64 loss to UNC.  Phil Ford (who could not be called for a foul of any kind) shoved King out of bounds.  No call.  Turnover Maryland.  Game over.
    Or the 1980 ACC Tournament championship game when Duke's Kenny Dennard tackled Buck Williams from behind as he was about to slam home the last second winner in a 73-72 loss.  Hey no harm (Buck lived), no foul.  Or so it must have seemed to game officials  Hantak, Sonnenberg, and Barth.
Are the good old days of  Carolina Refs back?  
    I think one thing caused officiating to improve in the 80's.  UNC, primarily, would waltz through the regular ACC season every year, then get their lunch handed to them in the first NCAA tourney game they played.    Being hand-checked, or even touched in an NCAA game,  would leave the ACC's cream teams in a state of shock that usually saw them dispatched early and often.  Word went out that Carolina had to learn to play in the real world and the officiating improved.  Or so it seems.
   All of this came to mind, for the first time in nearly twenty years, as I watched the two Maryland-Duke games last year.  Yes, I think Duke had the better team.  But the calls - and non calls - in those games were disturbing.  Then came this year's January 3rd matchup.  While the final foul count was Maryland 25, Duke 18 - the message was sent early, with Maryland getting virtually every whistle in the first half.
   Am I looking for excuses?  I don't think so, and hope not.  Please note that in two games against good teams, not played with ACC refs, Duke is 1-1 (losing to Cincinnati and going into overtime against St. Johns).  In the Saint John's game both Langdon and Brand fouled out.  Against Maryland, Shane Battier - a very physical player - managed to go nearly nineteen minutes with four fouls and never did foul out.  If there were any 'away from the ball' touch fouls called against Duke -  I missed them.
    Next week I can only hope that the Terps play their best game, and Duke theirs - and the officials leave any bias at home.

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