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The Big Ten Should Expand To Include Some Competent Basketball Refs

No matter how bad the officiating, it’s tough to summon much sanctimony over a basketball game between Iowa and Michigan. But even so. Come on. This is just disgraceful.

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SB Nation’s Iowa blog, Black Heart Gold Pants, had a superb takedown of the officials from last night, including this:

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While it’s breaking no new intellectual ground to ever complain about the officiating in a game (particularly one worked by Ed Hightower and Ted Valentine), that’s still clearly the story of the game tonight.

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We’re not stupid enough to think that Hightower and Valentine were somehow actively conspiring against Iowa … that theory would require the supposition that the two men are actually capable of calling a good game and just choose not to. That’s a fantasy.

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Further, it’s not the case that all the calls went against Iowa for the balance of the game. There were several calls that seemed to be a whistle just blown at random, and a good amount of them were in Iowa’s favor. This is what happens in a Hightower/Valentine game.

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You know when it looks like refs are just calling (or not calling) fouls based solely on their own whims? That’s exactly what happened. Witness this video of Deshawn SIms, as he explains his game-tying shot that ultimately sent things to overtime:

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“It was going in and I wanted the foul. The ref told me if it didn’t go in, it would have been a foul.”

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Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s not how officiating is supposed to work. “If you had missed, we’d have called the foul.” Really? I know it’s a tough game to officiate, but whimsically ignoring the rulebook probably doesn’t help the cause.