As a fan, watching the game between Texas Tech and Baylor last night was infuriating. On the defensive side of the ball, it seemed as if Texas Tech was called for a foul for gently grazing against a Baylor player. Then, a Red Raider would drive to the basket on offense, go flying to the ground. No call.
While I personally prefer basketball officials to be more relaxed than uptight, I don’t really care as long as it’s the same for the duration of the game and is consistent on both ends of the floor. So when a Baylor player hip checks a Tech player, it should be a foul when the same maneuver was whistled 30 seconds earlier when a Tech player did it.
Chris Beard finally had enough last night. Though he admirably maintained his composure throughout the game, afterwards he called out the Big 12 referees. He said he never really questions officiating, and emphasized that the refs didn’t cause Texas Tech to lose the game. But he said he was concerned given how poor and inconsistent the Big 12 officiating has been so far this season.
On Texas Tech’s last possession of the game – with the Red Raiders in position to tie things up or win it in regulation – a whistle was blown and two referees put their hand in the air to signal the stoppage of play for a foul. Then they convened for a few minutes and determined it was an inadvertent whistle.
That’s Busch league officiating, but quite honestly I wouldn’t expect any better at this point.
Last night, Baylor shot 28 free throws to Texas Tech’s 10. By no means would the foul shot count be the exact same with fair officiating, but it would be a heck of a lot closer than the near 3:1 ratio.
When Texas Tech played TCU last week, the Horned Frogs were called for 25 fouls with just 11 called on the Red Raiders.
In the showdown between Texas Tech and Oklahoma in Norman a couple weeks ago, 41 fouls were called in 40 minutes of play - more than one foul per minute. That’s absurd.
This kind of officiating handicaps the Big 12 in postseason play. When no Big 12 team is used to developing a rhythm due to the high foul count and subsequent stoppages of play, they will struggle. When Big 12 teams rely on soft officiating and ticky-tack foul calls, they will struggle against an aggressive, physical team in the NCAA tournament.
“Concerning” is the correct word to analyze Big 12 officials so far this season. I’m glad Coach Beard had the guts to call them out without coming across like he was making excuses or shifting blame.
There needs to be some form of accountability when officiating is so blatantly inconsistent not just week to week, but possession to possession within a game. It makes the product unwatchable and hurts the conference during postseason play against teams who have had the fortune of decent officiating throughout the season.
PS – FWIW, I’ve never been the guy to complain about officials at any level for any sport. I know they make mistakes and I know I would make mistakes if I were an official. But even I can notice blatant incompetence, seemingly intentional, when I see it. Again I say good on Coach Beard for calling them out.