EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the controversy surrounding Sean Miller’s technical foul in last year’s Pac-12 Tournament, an event in which former Pac-12 director of officiating Ed Rush reportedly placed a bounty on Miller to be thrown out or given a technical, this site will monitor the league’s officials during the course of the season through the conference tournament in March. The integrity of the game and its officiating was called into question by Rush’s actions, which ultimately led to his resignation.
Sean Miller’s tension with the Pac-12 office and its officials last year was to the extreme judging from how the ACC is not even slapping Jim Boeheim on the wrist for his outburst last week.
Boeheim had a profanity-laced tirade toward Tony Greene, who called a charge against C.J. Fair late in Duke’s 66-60 win over the visiting Orangemen last Thursday.
Boeheim noticeably yelled “Bull—!” a few times toward Greene, a veteran who worked the NCAA title game last year. Boeheim also went about 15 feet out on to the court, arms flailing. He nearly took off his sports coat. Greene gave him a double-technical foul and ejected him.
Boeheim said in the postgame press conference, “I just thought that was the worst call of the year, that’s all. I just hate to see the game decided on that call.”
ACC commissioner John Swofford said today that Boeheim will not be “punished” for his actions last week. It obviously pays to coach 37 years and have 946 coaching victories.
Miller, in his 10th year as a coach with 241 victories, was forced to pay $25,000 to the Pac-12 for his actions during the conference tournament last year.
Unlike Boeheim, Miller did not storm on to the court to contest the double-dribble call against former UA guard Mark Lyons last year against UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament. He was whistled for a technical foul for yelling “He touched the ball!”, referring to UCLA guard Jordan Adams poking the ball, which should have allowed Lyons to dribble again.
“Didn’t cuss … didn’t challenge him,” Miller told the media about Pac-12 referee Michael Irving, who called the technical.
The Pac-12 levied the fine because Miller allegedly confronted a referee after the game on the court (a common occurrence with upset coaches) and later yelled obscenities in the vicinity (not toward) a conference staffer as he exited the court area at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
One other point about the Boeheim incident last week: What if a technical foul was not called on him because of when Fair’s foul occurred (with 10.4 seconds left), thereby potentially affecting the outcome? Just a thought. Arizona knows all too well about that scenario this season.
“Aww, you don’t want to see a game end like this,” ESPN’s Dick Vitale said during the telecast last week. “(Boeheim) had a right to scream. There’s times when a coach has the right. Come on, now.”
Irving Watch: With two weekends left in the regular season, the official who gave Miller the technical foul has yet to officiate an Arizona game. He has also yet to officiate a UCLA game. He officiated all three Arizona-UCLA games last season. He has workied games involving all other Pac-12 programs except Stanford.
Whistle-happy: In six games, veteran ref Bob Staffen and his crews lead all Pac-12 officials with an average of 41.5 personal fouls and 52.8 free-throw attempts. Staffen worked Saturday’s UCLA-Stanford game, his first Pac-12 game in three weeks after working WAC games.
Swallowed whistle: Kevin Brill’s crews have called league-low averages of only 30.6 fouls and 31.3 free-throw attempts in seven games. The next lowest is Tom Nunez at 38.2 free throw attempts in five games.
Biggest homer?: Randy McCall and his crews have this distinction with home teams having 47 less fouls called than visitors and 61 more free-throw attempts than visitors in the 14 games he’s officiated.
Thick-skinned: This honor goes to Larry Spaulding, whose crews have called a league-high 18 more fouls on home teams in his eight games. Visiting teams have also attempted 25 more free throws than home teams in games Spaulding has called.
Feeling at home: Forty-one of the 52 refs used to this point have a total of more fouls called on visitors. Thirty-six have a total of home teams taking more free throw attempts.
Most used: McCall and Verne Harris have officiated a league-high 15 games. David Hall and Mike Reed have officiated 12.
Least used: Ten of the 52 referees used to this point have called only one game.
The following five charts involved a few hours of my time putting together data of league referees. I will update the data through the season. Here is a brief description of each:
Chart 1 and 2: Chart 1 indicates the referees who have officiated at least three Pac-12 games in the first four weeks of the season. Chart 2 lists all officials.
Within Chart 2, it first 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.
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.
Other columns: PFDiff — Difference between fouls of home and away teams (a minus score reflects more calls made for the visitor), and FTDiff — Difference between free-throw attempts of home and away teams (again, a minus score reflects more calls made for the visitor).
Chart 3 and 4: Chart 3 indicates the number of overall games called by a ref of a particular conference team. Chart 4 has the same principle but indicates only certain locations where the referee called a game.
Chart 5: Indicates difference of calls made for a team at home compared to on the road in Pac-12 games. HPFDIFF stands for “Home Personal Foul Difference” compared calls to visitors. HFTDIFF stands for “Home Free Throw (attempts) compared to visitors. The same principle applies for when on the road for APFDIFF and AFTDIFF. The total of each category is signified with TotPFD and TotFTD.
CHART ONE: MOST-USED OFFICIALS
CHART TWO: ALL OFFICIALS
CHART THREE: REFS BY TEAMS CALLED
CHART FOUR: REFS BY LOCATIONS CALLED
CHART FIVE: DIFFERENCE OF CALLS HOME AND AWAY