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Old 04-02-2001, 10:07 AM   #1
FL Tiger
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Well, with all this talk about the referees favoring Duke all year, I decided to “crunch the numbers” a little to see if there was any statistical evidence to back up mine and others’ contention that Duke has had more than a little help along their journey to the Championship game. Lets check the numbers out…

Personal fouls per game – I checked the numbers from what most consider to be the 6 major conferences – Pac-10, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, ACC, and SEC – and came up with the following:
Pac-10 Team Personal Fouls Per Game
Stanford led with only 16.8 PFs a game. Arizona was second at 17.9. Oregon last at 23.3

Big 12
Texas Tech led with 17.1 PFs a game. Texas last at 22.7

Big Ten
Northwestern led with 17.3 PFs a game. Iowa last at 22.5. Beakers, Illinois was the second most foul prone team in the Big Ten, with 21.7 PFs a game.

SEC
LSU led with 17.3 PFs a game. Tennessee last at 21.5

ACC
Duke got called for hacking a measly 17.0 times a game. North Carolina was second at 17.7 a game. Clemson and Georgia Tech brought up the rear at 21.5 PFs a game.

So, looking at all of the teams from the 6 major conferences, Only Notre Dame and Stanford were whistled for as few personal fouls per game than Duke. A strong case could be made that the officials help those other two teams out a little also, but for now we are looking at Duke. Incidentally, Battier got whistled for 2.1 personal fouls per game. He averages 34.7 minutes per game. It is stunning to me that for all the defensive plays he is in on for Duke, all the “charges” that he draws, he was only whistled for 2.1 personal fouls per game.

Free Throw Attempts per Game – In the 6 major conferences, there are a total of 68 teams. Duke ranks tied for 11th out of those 68 teams in free throw attempts per game. This is a team that usually has 4 players spaced outside by the three point line and often only has one inside player, usually Boozer or Sanders. How can a team that was 2nd in the country in 3 point attempts per game (27.1 per game) and virtually no inside game rank so high in free throw attempts per game? For comparison purposes, the Illini shot less free throws a game than Duke did. The leaders of teams out of the 6 major conferences in free throw attempts per game were Iowa (30.5), Iowa St (27.6), Stanford (26.6), Tennessee (26.4), Arizona (26.3), Colorado (26.1), Virginia (26.0), North Carolina St. (26.0), Texas A & M (25.9), UCLA (25.9), USC (25.8) and Duke (25.8) were tied, and then the Illini (25.1), followed by 55 other teams. Most of these teams have at least two good inside players that can draw fouls and also have penetrating guards that draw fouls.
There were also some good foul drawing players like Evans of Iowa and Inge of NC State that helped those teams’ cause.
Battier shot 223 two point field goals, and made 119. He shot 174 free throws, making 140. Battier shot 284 3 pointers. Man what an offensive player! Has anyone ever seen a guy that shoots nearly 60% of his field goal attempts as three pointers but yet also draws a huge number of fouls? Keep in mind that it is rare that a foul happens when someone is shooting a three pointer. Maybe once every second or third game or so. Jason Williams, who I feel should draw more fouls than Battier does since he is such a good penetrator, has similar numbers to Battier when it comes to drawing fouls. Williams has shot 280 2 point field goals, making 144, and has shot 193 free throws, making 127. Williams shot 289 3 pointers, so about half of his field goal attempts have been 3’s.

After doing this research, there is no doubt in my mind that Duke has an unfair advantage every game because of the refereeing bias. I would say that anywhere from 4 to 7 or 8 points a game are spotted to Duke each game, on average, because of this bias. Not to mention the points that come from the Duke players having the extra confidence each game of knowing that they can dribble out of a trap, hand check an opposing player (watch Battier do this, he does it all the time), flop and draw a foul or a charge (did you see Duhon flop in the first half of the Maryland game and they called the third foul on Baxter about 2 seconds after it happened? The official must have been waiting for the obligatory flop on Duhons part) and that any momentum gained by the opposing team will soon be broken by a few calls going Dukes’ way.
Duke is a good team, but how good would their players be if they were all playing for Northwestern, or Baylor, or Pittsburgh? This whole season has seemingly been scripted from the very start, with Battier being the sweetheart of the media and announcers like Packer and Vitale salivating over Duke all season long. No wonder so many people hate that team. As much as I want the Arizona Wildcats to be the 2001 NCAA champs, I don’t think that it is in the cards. With any kind of objective officiating this season, Duke would not have beaten Maryland three times out of four (maybe once they would have), would not have gotten a number one seed, and would not even be in the NCAA championship game…
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Old 04-02-2001, 10:35 AM   #2
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That's interesting, but you're comparing teams across different conferences against different opponents with different officials, so what has been proven? Your data set is simply too large to pull anything meaningful from it, IMO. Also IMO, the only way anything could be derived from this would be if you looked at the same officials calling less fouls against Duke than anyone else. People are always going to gripe about officiating. Questionable calls are a part of the game. Everyone knows the charge / block call is the most difficult to make...yet Battier is constantly questioned. Please. It's simply a reaction to his positive press, which I admit has been a bit much. People are tired of Duke winning, so the refs are on their side. I would like to hear the reasoning behind Baxter's fifth foul, that one was horrible, but there have been plenty of worse calls that have benefited other teams in the history of the NCAAs and other sports. The statement "with any kind of objective officiating this season" calls the credibility and honesty of every official who has worked a Duke game this season into question, that's a tough claim to support.
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Old 04-02-2001, 05:05 PM   #3
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I agree with Tom. I just don't think you can compare different sets of officials in different leagues to come up with a realistic conclusion. Does Duke, like the Heat fans think of the Knicks, have the refs on their side, or not? I think it would be very hard to prove Duke has official bias, but then again, there is no question ESPN with Vitale has bias. They going crazy over Duke every year.
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Old 04-02-2001, 05:37 PM   #4
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Looking at raw numbers of fouls undermines the argument by ignoring the following: for the 20 years of Coach K's tenure, Duke's motion offense has called for dribble penetration to draw the D, then the dish to the inside presence for easy buckets and fouls. So getting to the line more times than the opponent is a major precept of Duke's offensive philosophy.

Even with the 3-point shot's prevalence in Duke's O these days, the basis is still dribble penetration--the shots come from a drive with a kick-out to the arc. They don't just stand around the 3-point line passing it back and forth until one of them fires it up.

Why don't other teams try this strategy? Because either the coaches don't embrace the philosophy as Coach K does, or they don't have the talent for it. I tend to think Duke is good because of their coaching and superior players, not help from the refs.

Then again, it's natural for there to be a backlash against success, and that's what we're seeing. People used to say the say thing about Dean Smith's North Carolina teams. And if Duke wasn't as good as they are, they'd just be saying it about someone else.
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Old 04-02-2001, 05:56 PM   #5
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Tom Baker would you be saying the same thing about how the refs are doing if it was Uk in the tourney instead of DUke? I think you are as biased about Duke's play as I am about Kentuckys. I just am so sick and tired of how Duke has been hyped. You would think they were the only team worthy of anything. To hear Vitale and Packer talk about Duke is sickening. And if you have noticed it is usually just 2 of Dukes players...Battier and Williams who do all the scoring. Well that doesn't make a team granted that is how they have got this far but you have to think how do the other players feel that they are out on the court but it seems like they don't get to do any of the scoring and it is left up to Battier and WIlliams? WHat do you think of that??
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Old 04-02-2001, 06:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bigbluefan
Tom Baker would you be saying the same thing about how the refs are doing if it was Uk in the tourney instead of DUke? I think you are as biased about Duke's play as I am about Kentuckys. I just am so sick and tired of how Duke has been hyped. You would think they were the only team worthy of anything. To hear Vitale and Packer talk about Duke is sickening. And if you have noticed it is usually just 2 of Dukes players...Battier and Williams who do all the scoring. Well that doesn't make a team granted that is how they have got this far but you have to think how do the other players feel that they are out on the court but it seems like they don't get to do any of the scoring and it is left up to Battier and WIlliams? WHat do you think of that??
I don't understand your point. Sure I'm biased towards Duke because I grew up a few miles from the school, I've met the coach and I like him, and I've met several players as well. But everyone is biased some way or another, and the voices we're hearing against Duke now are biased against their success.

Sure you think Vitale and Packer are sickening, but would you say the same if they were talking about Kentucky? But Duke's hype doesn't save the argument about fouls, at least as presented here, from fatal flaws in logic.

As to your point about what makes a team, I could not agree less. Coach K coaches each team differently because each team is different. It just so happens that Battier and Williams are the big scorers on this year's Duke team. The other players defer to that because they buy into the coach's philosophy and will do what it teams to make the TEAM succeed. THAT is what makes a team, not necessarily five guys all getting double doubles every night.
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Old 04-03-2001, 01:14 AM   #7
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I thought for sure that the referees were going to call the Championship Game at halftime and simply award it to Duke.

What a frigging embarrassment... culminating in that HORRIBLE goaltending call right there at the half.

And if you don't believe that, then you are a bigger crack smoker than I thought...
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Old 04-03-2001, 09:15 AM   #8
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Yes, Duke winning the title was completely attributable to the refs. It had nothing whatsoever to do with outplaying Arizona or the Wildcats not shooting well.

Honestly, a post like that really isn't even worth the trouble of typing this, so forget I said anything. Let me back at my crack pipe.
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Old 04-03-2001, 10:06 AM   #9
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Oh, please. Stop acting like SportsCentral is the little kids' table at Thanksgiving. If you get your feelings hurt that easily, you really need to check into a self-esteem class. I was asked repeatedly to post at SC, so I am posting.

Last edited by FL Tiger; 04-03-2001 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 04-03-2001, 05:07 PM   #10
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I have no problem with people having a good heated discussion, but naming calling goes nowhere. We're too off topic here. Closed.
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