Pac-12 coordinator of officials Bobby Dibler, who holds the same title with the Mountain West and WAC, continues to spread the assignments for conferences games 16 games into the season.
No referees to this point have officiated a Pac-12 team more than once. Dibler assigned two referees who officiated their first Pac-12 game this season — veterans Tom O’Neill and John Higgins — for last night’s featured matchup between Arizona and UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
O’Neill and Higgins joined with veteran Verne Harris, who has called four Pac-12 games this season.
Overall last night, Dibler assigned seven new referees, including Higgins and O’Neill, who had yet to officiate a Pac-12 game this season. Unlike past years, especially before 2000, the conference can pull from a nationwide pool of referees, most of whom officiate games in the Pac-12, Mountain West and WAC. A total of 30 different refs have officiated the 16 Pac-12 games to this point.
Former Arizona center A.J. Bramlett’s reaction to Aaron Gordon’s fourth foul last night:
Moving your feet with your arms straight up is NOT a FOUL!!!!!!!
Judging from reactions of Arizona coach Sean Miller and the bench, they did not see eye-to-eye with O’Neill and Higgins on a few calls. Miller was most animate with O’Neill when O’Neill called a foul on T.J. McConnell against a driving Bryce Alford with 4:06 remaining in the game. Miller spent the entire sequence of Alford shooting free throws barking at O’Neill.
It appeared that McConnell avoided contact and did not commit a foul. Aaron Gordon’s fourth foul called by Higgins with 9:39 remaining was also questionable because it appeared Gordon established proper position when Jordan Adams attempted a shot in the lane.
The following three charts involved a few hours of my time putting together data from the 16 conference games to this point. The graphics include an overall view of Pac-12 refs. I will update the data through the season. Here is a brief description of each:
Chart 1: Lists the years the referees have worked college basketball games per statsheet.com.
The conference record shown indicates the cumulative combined conference records of the teams at the time they played in the game called by the ref. For example, Gregory Nixon, who officiated the Pac-12 tournament title game last March between UCLA and Oregon, has worked in games this year that featured four 1-0 teams at the time: Washington at Arizona and Oregon at Colorado last week.
The “Rank” column is the number of games called that involve AP Top 25 teams. Also listed are stats related to games called by a referee’s crew: Personal fouls, average of personal fouls, disqualifications, technical fouls, free-throw attempts and free-throw attempt average a game.
Chart 2 and 3: Chart 2 indicates the number of overall games called by a ref of a particular conference team. Interesting to note at this point: No referee has called a game for a specific team more than once through the first 16 games of the conference season. Chart 3 has the same principle but indicates only certain locations where the referee called a game.