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.
The above ESPN video capture shows UCLA guard Bryce Alford running out of bounds and putting his arms in the air while Oregon’s Mike Moser attempted to make an inbound pass in the waning seconds of regulation of last night’s game at Pauley Pavilion.
Alford ran into Moser’s path in plain view of Pac-12 referees John Higgins and Michael Greenstein. Moser hesitated and threw a difficult pass to Jonathon Loyd, who could not handle the ball before it bounced out of bounds, turning the ball over to UCLA with 5.2 seconds remaining and Oregon ahead 71-70.
Rule 7, Section 6, Article 9.b in the official NCAA men’s basketball rulebook states “no opponent of the thrower-in shall have any part of his person over the inside plane of the boundary line.” And Rule 10, Sec. 4, Article 1, Rule J says crossing the inbounds line could result in a technical foul.
After Oregon’s turnover, the Bruins’ Zach LeVine missed a three-pointer and Oregon’s Joseph Young was immediately fouled with 1.3 seconds left. Young made both free throws to put UCLA up 73-70. UCLA sent the game into overtime on a miraculous three-point shot by David Wear off a court-length inbound pass from brother Travis Wear.
By the way, none of the Ducks were out of bounds, impeding Travis Wear’s path before he launched that pass.
As it turned out. the non-call became a non-issue in regards to the game because of Oregon’s double-overtime win, but it again begs the question of why the league officials do not abide by the rules, even though the questionable play happens late?
What if LeVine makes the jump shot and gives UCLA the win after the controversial turnover? ESPN would be replaying Alford’s infraction numerous times and the national media would point out another Pac-12 officiating miscue. The league lucked out on this one.
Let’s hope the disregard for the rules does not come back to bite the Pac-12 refs and cost a team a victory. It feels like something of that nature is close to happening.
Cardinal calls: Stanford, which comes to McKale Sunday night, is now second in the Pac-12 behind Colorado in personal foul and free throw-attempt differential. Stanford’s Pac-12 opponents have been whistled 55 more times for fouls. The Cardinal has attempted 87 more free throws than their opponents. Colorado leads both categories with plus-59 in personal foul calls and a whopping plus-142 in free throw attempts.
Irving Watch: With three games 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 worked 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.
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 Dick Cartmell at 39.3 free throw attempts in nine 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: Thirty-seven of the 52 refs used to this point have a total of more fouls called on visitors. Thirty-five have a total of home teams taking more free throw attempts.
Most used: McCall and Verne Harris have officiated a league-high 15 games. Mike Reed is next with 13 games. Reed was part of the crew that called Wednesday’s Cal-Arizona game in which Golden Bear guard Justin Cobbs and the Cal bench was called for technical fouls. Reed has been part of crews that have called a league-high five technical fouls this season.
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