KU Crushes Refs 90-70, and Gets a W over MSU, Too

  • How shall I put this in a sportsmanlike way?

    In an ESPN box score I just looked at shortly after the KU-MSU game, it indicates the refs called 16 fouls on KU and 14 on MSU.

    It looks pretty symmetric, doesn’t it?

    Its highly improbable the jobs the referees did will ever be questioned by the talking heads in the media, nor will the NCAA leadership call for a review of the game’s officiating. How could they? The refs called 16 on KU and 14 on MSU. It looks so, so, so fair on paper.

    But I suspect many, if not most, KU fans that watched what appeared to this KU fan to be one of the truly disgraceful refereeing spectacles, in what has become a frequent recurrence of disgraceful refereeing spectacles besmirching the first, or second, greatest spectacle in sport, would recognize a couple inconsistencies in the referee’s calls between an experienced, highly skilled basketball team (KU) and a green bunch of typically hard nosed MSU bruisers.

    Fouls called on KU were mostly reaching fouls, being brutally charged into and being called ludicrously for a defensive foul, or just plain phantom fouls, like the one in which Josh Jackson was called for going over the back on a rebound in the second half, and the overhead camera showed unmistakably that there was NO contact at all.

    Fouls called on MSU appeared anecdotally mostly ones where KU players were layed out on the floor, or suffered sudden changes in vector direction and momentum, after the contact, or close lined (Josh nearly getting beheaded on the sideline near mid court in the second half).

    Of course, in every apparently egregiously asymmetrically whistled game, it appears to be the no-calls that really tell the story. No-calls appear to be how the refs really give one team the winning edge, and the other the short shrift. The actual asymmetric calls appear just to let the teams know which team is going to be favored. By comparison, it appears to be the no-calls that can keep inferior teams in games, and sometimes even allow them to upset opponents.

    I think reciting the no calls, which might amount to as many as 4 per MSU possession during the first 30 minutes of the game would be kicking MSU when they are down and that is something no KU fan should ever do. MSU did not hire the refs. MSU did not ask for an asymmetric whistle. MSU just played the cards they were dealt. And a damned good set of calls and no calls it appeared to be.

    If KU had not been so resilient, experienced, skilled, athletic, and poised, the outcome might have been different; that’s how much the refs appeared to mean to this game.

    Without putting too fine a point on it, it is hardly beyond the realm of possibility that KU might have beaten MSU 130-50, if the refs would have appeared to have blown even a reasonably symmetric whistle for most of the game.

    But the refs appeared to say “phooey!” on synmmetry.

    It would be futile (and foolish) to speculate what might be the motivation of referees to call a game the way this one was called.

    Suffice it to say that even my wife, who rarely watches a basketball game and is not a KU grad, or even a big time KU fan, said it was appalling how much the referees appeared to favor MSU for extended stretches.

    The only further thought of yours truly worth noting has nothing to do with referees’ motivations, at all.

    As a result of calling the game as the referees did, whatever their actual motivations may have been (and I do not speculate on that at all), it is a reasonable inference to draw that if the game had been called with more apparent symmetry that fans of MSU and of the Big Ten and of Eastern Time Zone basketball generally, would likely have quit watching sometime in the first half, because KU would have been too far ahead for MSU to have more than a remote chance of winning.

    But again, I have not a single clue why the referees actually did call the game the way they did. It is a mystery to me. My best guess is that it is an utter coincidence that the way they called the game appeared to keep an EST and a Big Ten team in the game. They must have just been having a bad day.

    Down the stretch, when KU’s athleticism and experience and skill were allowed to assert themselves for what really amounted to a very short part of the game, KU literally blew MSU out of the arena.

    And except for FTs and some steals, KU didn’t really even play all that unusually well.

    To be generous and respectful to Coach Izzo and his Spartans, they are a young team and have the makings of maturing into one of Coach Izzo’s frequently fine teams.

    Alas, I regret to add I lack the same optimism about this team of referees improving similarly by next season.

    Rock Chalk!!!

    (Note: of course, all of the above is opining and speculation by a fan from a remote location. God only knows what was really going on. It may have been the most fairly called game in the last 100 years or so.)

  • Small market teams simply must take their lumps, and overcome…if they can. Self’s teams are capable of doing this. Blowing it open late, shows the reserve and poise these guys have. Taking a grinder against MSU for 37min, then showing we have the legs and 3guns to blow it open late, irrespective of ref behavior.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Evenly called game from my spot on the couch. Never screamed at the TV once, whilst I screamed a 1000 times during the NCAA attempt to engineer a game for east coast TV viewers in Pennsylvania.

  • @ralster Big 10 imposters are goin by the wayside .

  • @ralster


    We have to take the good with the bad.

    But its okay to note it.

    Besides, I wanted to complain about the refereeing after a win to be taken seriously. 😃

  • @wissox

    Do you have one of those Samsung TVs, or one of the microwaves, that the CIA can eavesdrop on you and distort your thinking with?

  • @jaybate-1.0 Those microwaves have become tagged by international security teams as CONWAYS.

  • CONWAYS were certainly designed to “distort thinking.”

  • @REHawk


  • FWIW, I also noticed the asymmetry. The basket interference call was complete ref interference. The replay showed the hand on the net was an MSU player, but they took the basket from KU.

    The technical on Vick was also ref interference. They were trying a little too hard to control the game, so say the least.

  • @bskeet Both of those could have gone either way. Josh’s hand was right there. Wasn’t blatantly a missed call. Vick’s T, and this is just me, but, you make a great play, and so you have to stare down your opponent? Stupid, again, just my view on that, and so I so I can see why the ref called that.

  • @wissox He said something directly to the guy, too.

  • The technical foul on Vick. That is my contribution to this discussion.

  • @mayjay I was trying to see if he had said something. The thing is, we all look at the little screen in front of us and see something and think we know what happened. Sometimes we do, like the n0 call in the NW game Saturday. But none of us heard what else happened there with Vick.

    Once when I was reffing a guy was on the sideline. He was on his toes with his heels over the line. I saw it clearly, but to everyone in the gym yelling at me, his foot was clearly on the line, but it wasn’t. And as mentioned before, I’m guilty as charged, I’m always yelling at the refs. I’m still irate (ish) over KU duke (did ya’ll see they lost last night!!!) in 1986.

  • I thought it was pretty even overall. A couple of bad calls (both on Jackson, oddly enough), but that was about it. Michigan State probably howled over at least one of the calls against their big man, maybe two. Overall though, pretty evenly whistled.

    The T on Vick really depends on what was said more than anything. It didn’t look like much on TV, but if he said something that crossed the line, I can understand it. I didn’t like the call, but the official called it so quick that I do wonder what Vick said.

    That was the only really iffy thing, and unless you know what Vick said, it’s impossible to truly judge.

  • Me, I am approaching the point in which I wonder if Vick is just eat up with dumb or if he is just studying to be a master of bad judgments. Evidently, last year he kicked a girl; this year taunted a former girlfriend who retaliated by tossing a drink at him, acts which stirred the beast lying dormant in our hero Josh Jackson; then this controversial technical foul at a key moment on the national stage. What is with this kid? He is very much lurking in the wings, awaiting the call for starting minutes next season. Time for him to grow into respectable and reliable status. I would hope to be able to cheer him to future glory.

  • @REHawk He & Bragg are direct competition for the teams IBI Award.

  • How about when the MSU player shoved Jackson off the court while chasing the ball? This happened after two bad calls and CBS chose not to show a replay. Also, Bridges bumped Jackson’s shoulder hard while heading to the sideline and a MSU slammed the ball hard…both should have been called as Ts, considering the one they called on Vick.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Yeah, I was incensed by some of those overlooked incidents, too. But Vick? Fact is, he drew a call. Might have more than something to do with his occasional facial demeanor. Looks like a guy, who when so moved, could make me nervous in his vicinity on a lonely midnight street! Hudy intensifies his strength training this summer, next season he’ll be the guy in the news captions staring opponents down. Refs might focus even more on his looks or snarls.

  • @REHawk

    "Might have more than something to do with his occasional facial demeanor. Looks like a guy, who when so moved, could make me nervous in his vicinity on a lonely midnight street."

    If this is the case, I bet Frank Martin makes you wet your pants…😂

  • @JayHawkFanToo HA! You betcha! Although Frank’s demeanor is more forceful to me than threatening. Vick racks up another 15 or 20 pounds and he could back a doberman off his doorstep.

  • @wissox The replay made it look like MSU player’s hand was in the cylinder… but agree, there were Jayhawk hands all around. 95/100 times that is a no-call… Yes it could have gone either way, but it didn’t really interfere with the basket and it seemed ref-indulgent to me.

    On Vick’s play: I agree it was stupid on his part to stare and say something. I think that behavior gets a T about 50% of the time or a little less. Totally the refs’ prerogative, but it didn’t look like Vick was provoking or taunting, from my comfy couch 😉

    Anyway, I also agree that the refs are trying to do the best they can, but sometimes it seems like they insert themselves more than they need to (well-intentioned, i’m sure)… and when they do, it’s usually at the expense of one of the teams.

  • @bskeet then call the bumping on frank by bridges on the dead ball.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I really didn’t think the refs were favoring either side…but reading your post has shone the light on how inexperienced I still am about the sport by way of foul calls. I remember seeing that terrible call on Josh, zero contact at all. I also remember seeing replay of one call that they got right when initially I was like WTF was that?!

    So, yeah, I still think I’m relatively naïve on how the fouls are called but I think the refs made some good ones as well.

    PS. my two favorite moments in the game were when Josh threw down that nasty dunk after a drive to the hoop in the second half and Frank Mason going toe to toe with that big, Bridges, I think? Freeking awesome!

  • @wissox Vick didn’t just stare him down, he flat out yelled some Ish at the guy. I thought it was brilliant but he so deserved that Tech for it

  • @REHawk You know what, I don’t really feel that way about Vick. Especially knowing about the trash talking and blatant attempts to intimidate our KU boys by MSU players. Case in point. Frank getting toe to toe glaring at MSU’s big guy, the very same who is a friend of Josh’s, both were talking at eachother. Its just game and I think Vick was just trying to give it back to MSU.
    Sure, Vick’s had his share of stupid decisions but he’s a college kid. Werent we all like that? I sure as hell was.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    How about when the MSU player shoved Jackson off the court while chasing the ball? This happened after two bad calls and CBS chose not to show a replay. Also, Bridges bumped Jackson’s shoulder hard while heading to the sideline and a MSU slammed the ball hard…both should have been called as Ts, considering the one they called on Vick.


  • Here is how one KU players feels…


  • “This happened after two bad calls and CBS chose not to show a replay” –@JayHawkFanToo

    You hit this out of the park; this steamed me so much I forgot to mention it.

    CBS doesn’t show the egregious fouls of the teams it shills for.


    It’s like watching fake basketball news sometimes!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    CBS = North Korea confirmed.

  • @BShark have you seen any replays of josh getting shoved out?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I believe the NCAA has instructed CBS to minimize showing bad calls by the refs and since they already showed 2, this would have made 3 bad calls in a row.

  • I think what you folks are referring to are KU reactions to MSU trash-talking that was going on early and often throughout the game. Sample: Bridges trying to intimidate Frank (“Get up, Boy”). MSU needed to do that because they were out-talented and out-experienced and must have felt vindicated that, with the “unseen hand of the market” they were able to hang so close to an obviously superior team.

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