Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lowering Journalistic Standards in Motown

My goodness.

Here is the most ridiculous piece of "journalism" that I have read from a major metropolitan newspaper since the last Mike Hunt column I lambasted (hard to keep track of).

I wrote for the Badger Herald when I was in college, one of the student newspapers at UW Madison, and even we knew that you're supposed to leave your affiliations at the door when you write a story. No cheering in the press box. No homerism.

This column is from major newspaper, in a big city. The editor that ran this should be ashamed, much less Drew Sharp, the "columnist" who wrote it.

Why did Michigan State lose to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals? The officiating, of course.

There’s losing and there’s getting robbed. The Spartans wouldn’t make this distinction.

I will.

What happened in Saturday’s Big Ten tournament semifinal was officiating shoveled straight off the stable room floor.

There’s always an unfriendly whistle and those inequities usually balance themselves out over the course of a season. That’s never an acceptable excuse for defeat because if coaches and players better execute those situations within their control, their fate wouldn’t rest in the judgment of those beyond their control. But the Spartans got an unfair whistle in their 65-63 loss to Wisconsin.

I’ve seen plenty of poorly officiated basketball games in my time and I’ve heard plenty of venomous declarations from coaches and players certain they were wronged by striped shirted conspirators. They’re instantaneously dismissed as whiners unwilling to objectively assess their own accountability for their fate. They’re seeking a crutch and it’s always easier blaming the guy with the whistle.

But when one team fouls out four big men in rapid succession while the other team, known for taking many physical liberties, doesn’t have anybody with more than three fouls, then there’s a problem.

When referees make themselves the show, constantly calling incidental conduct away from the ball while too often ignoring obvious contact that impedes upon the ball handler’s ability to drive to the basket, then there’s a problem.

I watched this basketball game from start to finish. The officiating was definitely tight out on the perimeter, with big men for both teams getting called for multiple fouls when trying to defend picks at the top of the key.

What this clown forgets is that Michael Flowers missed much of the game due to foul trouble. Marcus Landry had 3 fouls just after halftime. Greg Steimsma was limited due to fouls as well.

Basically, the officials called it both ways. Wisconsin adjusted. Michigan State didn't. They lost the game because their freshman point guard made some freshman decisions in the last minute (which you have to live with), and Wisconsin started to hit some shots from the outside. If Michigan State played defense with their feet and not their hands, they might have avoided being called for 30 fouls. Something to work on for next year, I guess.

Wisconsin played about as bad as it could have for the first 30 minutes of this game, and still managed to pull it out. This should be encouraging for Badgers fans as the NCAA tournament approaches, and should be discouraging for the Spartans fans who are witnessing yet another season of underachievement.

But I'm sure they would be undefeated if the officials didn't hate Michigan State.


MSU Fan said...

All of a sudden MSU forgot how to play solid defense, like theyve done for a decade? Joke.

Goldy said...

I don't remember what everyones first 4 fouls looke dlike, but lets look at the 5th fouls. Ibok, a goon who Izzo puts out there with the sole intent to pick up fouls, hammers Butch on a 3-point shot. Legit foul. Namecek goes over the back on a rebound. Legit foul. Morgan stupidly hacks at somebody in the lane and hits their arm. Hey, that's a foul.

Honestly, as long as you are not reaching and grabbing, you are less likely to be called for a foul. I also like how he mentions that Wisconsin is a team known to take physical liberties. Really? And the powerhouse MSU teams at the beginning of the decade didn't have that same rep?

MSU fans just have issues wityh the fact they can't beat Wisconsin anymore. As they say, Bo owns Izzo.

Matt said...

Morgan also fouled Bohannon on a 3-point shot. Dumb foul. Suton hit Krabbenhoft in the face with an elbow running through a screen. Dumb foul.

Other fouls were called when guys were grabbing Landry as he was going for position on the post. If you move your feet instead of playing defense with your arms, you don't get called for that foul.

I think the only real questionable call I can remember in the last 6 or 7 minutes was the foul called on that Predator-looking guy for MSU when he blocked Landry's shot going to the basket. But the aggressor on offense often gets that call - it was a bang-bang play.