First and foremost, I’d like to say thanks for Dee and James for being the heart and soul of this Illini team. If they ever decide to retire numbers of basketball players at Illinois, Dee Brown’s is the first to go up into the rafters.
Thanks for the memories guys.
I watched most of the game on Saturday. I missed a big chunk of the first part of the first half due to driving to my parents to actually watch the game. However, I was listening on the radio.
In the last fifteen minutes of the first half, Illinois figured out Washington’s defense and made an incredible come back from 15 or so down. In the second half, they started to extend their lead up to 11 – 13 points. With less than 13 minutes in the game, it seemed the refs decided to call every possible and quite a few phantom calls against the Illini. My problem was with all the no-calls on the other end.
It may sound like sour grapes, but I’m not alone in my assessment. Here’s a collection of commentary regarding the officiating compiled by Illini Wonk:
Mark Tupper: I watched the game from the second row. No question Illinois fouled. I have no problem with that, although I thought it was an imaginary call against Marcus Arnold when he battled for that rebound late in the game. My problem is that Washington was fouling, too. They were bumping and slapping and colliding and grabbing, just like Illinois was. So from where I sat, there simply should not have been that large a disparity.
Mike Nadel: I just about never rip refs. In fact, I usually criticize coaches and players who complain because refs so rarely decide games. He then went on to call the officiating horribly inconsistent, incompetent and judged that it was one of the worst-officiated games in recent memory.
Bruce Weber: “I’m (ticked),” he said, although Weber selected a more descriptive word. “It was frustrating in the second half. We shot two free throws, they shot 21. We fouled, but I thought maybe we got fouled, too. But they didn’t see it that way.”
Others focused on the seeding that Illinois received. Mike DeCourcy, almost mirroring an earlier post from Illini Wonk, wrote: Illinois had a better record than Tennessee (25-6 to 21-7), more RPI top 25 wins (5 for Illinois, 3 for UT), more top 50 wins (9 for Illinois, 4 for UT) and more top 100 wins (13 to 10). Illinois finished second in its conference, same as Tennessee. But somehow the committee looked at all of that and made the absurd decision that the Volunteers’ record was superior.
With officiating like that, I was waiting for Vince McMahon and Triple H to come down to ringside… umm, err, I mean courtside and go through the Spanish announcer’s table.
Remember the names Larry Rose, Doug Shows and Gary Maxwell. Every single one of these officials has been in hot water before, two of them had been suspended by the ACC for terrible officiating (one was on the crew that screwed BC over earlier in the year), one spent this year in the Sun Belt conference because he did so poorly in the ACC Tournament last year, another no longer does ACC games at all. All three refs from yesterday have suspect track records. Seriously, after reading up on official, Doug Shows here and here, I don’t understand how someone like that was able to get a NCAA game.
I was sad to see us lose this game. I think most people would have been very happy for a Sweet Sixteen berth and then getting knocked out by UConn (or beating them…).
My favorite photo and REAL caption from the game: