UCLA Getting Home Cooking from Refs

There isn’t much of a question here. In the last week, UCLA has received a few generous calls at the end of games that helped them pull out miracle victories. Thursday night against Stanford, Darren Collison was blocked pretty cleanly attempting a game-tying shot. There was some body contact, but really, a foul didn’t need to be called. Saturday against Cal, Russell Westbrook swatted at Ryan Anderson and knocked the ball out of bounds, causing a turnover which gave the Bruins the ball. Not only did Westbrook commit a foul trying to pry the ball loose, but then Josh Shipp made an unbelievable shot from behind the backboard, over the glass, to win the game. According to the rules, if a ball crosses the backside of the backboard from any direction, it is considered out of bounds. That rule should have likely negated Shipp’s shot.

Though UCLA was definitely the beneficiary of several questionable calls at crucial moments — for whatever reason — there are still a few things that must be kept in mind. Most importantly, receiving the benefit of the doubt from the refs doesn’t win you a game all by itself; Darren Collison still had to sink a pair of clutch free throws, and UCLA still had to beat Stanford in overtime. Further, Josh Shipp had to make a circus shot and prove he can handle the pressure of making a last-second shot. Secondly, home cooking or not, everyone gets a chance in two weeks to prove they are the best team in the country. Same rules apply for everyone: win six games in a row, you’re the national champ. Simple as that.

(Photo Courtesy Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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  • http://psamp.blogspot.com tecmo

    Yes, I do agree with that last bit about everything being erased come tourney time, but this is getting ridiculous. Sure…win 6 games in a row and you’re champs, but losses like the ones by Stanford and Cal increase demoralization and could affect future success. If Cal wins their first round game in the Pac 10 tourney, they’ll play UCLA…again. They might be fired up to right some wrongs, but they also could be completely crushed from exerting all the energy needed to knock off a potential tourney #1 seed, only to have that win taken away and that energy gone to waste. Look at teams that actually WIN those close games against big-time programs. Pitt beats Duke on a 3 at the end of overtime, then follows that up with a stupid loss to Dayton. DAYTON. It takes so much effort and finesse to beat these top caliber teams that an immediate loss in the game(s) following is not out of the question. So while this seems like an “oh shit, UCLA won, let’s forget about it,” it turns out that these losses resonate in the near future.

    And Stanford had a chance to build on a tremendous season, only to suffer a giant roadblock. Id rather go into the dance having won 2 close games at the end of the season rather than being the team screwed out of a win. Teams need a certain amount of self confidence to believe they can knock off a top seed, and referee-induced losses do nothing to help that confidence. That’s a ridiculous detriment if and when they get to the tourney.

    The referee non-calls this past week were approaching Dook-like.

  • SpinMax

    Win 6 in a row…unless you are Sean May and the tourney and media are shoving his ‘legendary story’ down our throats and they’re allowed to just run into and over the competition without ever getting a foul call while any opposing team who so much as laid a hand on him got the whistle.

  • http://svpstyle.com ScottVanPeltStyle.com

    Even if the refs are cheating for UCLA, I’d still rather see the Bruins advance in the dance than anyone else.

    Besides, you have to figure they will only need but so many questionable calls, unlike Duke, who needs a bad call just to come out of the tunnel at halftime.

  • Woochifer

    Problem with all this focus on a single call at the end of the game, particularly with the Stanford game, is how many non-calls earlier went against the Bruins. The Stanford game was horribly (and inconsistently) officiated from the outset, and if you take the game as a whole, the calls and non-calls were decidedly in Stanford’s favor.

    There were two questionable fouls called on Mbah A Moute, and plenty of contact that the refs allowed with Brook Lopez. There was also a clear cut double dribble and a travel that did not get called. And right before the Collison play, Lawrence Hill got two-points on a play that could have easily been called as a charge with 20 seconds to go. Collison said that the foul with 2.5 seconds to go was a make-up call. If not for that call, then the Bruin fans would be talking about the non-call on the charge just a few seconds earlier.

    The two calls at the end of the Cal game very well could have gone the other way, and while I thought the officiating in that game overall was more even-handed (in other words, it was even-handedly lousy), there were plenty of other plays that Cal did not make down the stretch. In that kind of a game, at Pauley Pavilion on Senior Day, Cal should not put themselves into position where an official’s call can swing the result one way or another.

  • JS

    In the Cal game, it should be mentioned that the end of the game events were set up by Kevin Love’s clutch three pointer, with a defender totally in his face.

    It should also be noted that it so often happens in College Basketball that a team builds a nice double digit lead late in the game by running the offense so well, and then the coach takes them out of it with 2 minutes to go by spreading the half court and working the clock, resulting so often in a bad shot or a turnover.

  • Gene

    Writers Woochifer and JS said it all. The non-call charge when Hill flattened Love with less than twenty second to go was at least as questionable as the call on the Collison play. The so-called four corner offense, which turns an aggressive team into a passive one is the hoops equivalent of football’s “prevent defense”, which has been burned more times than not.

  • brandon

    i watched both games, ill comment on the stanford one first. The collison foul WAS A FOUL. If you watch the shot closely, the guy who blocked collison’s shot hit him with the body before the ball contact. That is a textbook foul, and the officials are watching the body more than they are watching the ball. And again, stanford should have never gotten to that point.

    the cal game was a classic, we have nothing to play for and we are still going to beat you. I’ve seen too many games where someone gets trapped in the corner expecting the refs to bail them out when they get themselves into a poor floor position. its not going to happen. The shipp shot was close, the ball can travel over the corner of the backboard, which in my opinion it did.

    Both teams had the opportunity to close out ucla in both games, and they couldn’t do it. Champions close out teams and don’t allow bad breaks to happen. You create your own breaks by being in good positions. Both stanford and cal did not do thier jobs in creating advantagous situations late in games. UCLA took advantage of thier positioning and did thier job.

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