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Victory, Rat.

Study Shows That Refs ARE Biased

You suck, Ed.

You suck, Ed.

A study conducted by Indiana and Ball State University professors has uncovered what we’ve always suspected… refs are biased little turds. As this article by Eddie Pells about the study states…

Refs favor the home team, the academics say. They’re big on “make-up” calls. They make more calls against teams in the lead, and the discrepancy grows if the game is on national TV.

To reach this conclusion, the professors studied 365 games from the 2004-2005 season, including 93 neutral court games and all 63 NCAA Tournament games. Here are some interesting tidbits from the article:

  • Refs tend to keep the foul count even regardless of which team is more aggressive.
  • The probability of a foul being called on the visiting team was 7 percent higher than on the home team.
  • When the home team is leading, the probability of the next foul being called on them was about 6.3 percentage points higher than when the home team was trailing. The professors also cited an earlier study that concluded there were more calls against teams ahead in games on national TV versus those ahead in locally televised games. Calling fouls against the leading team tends to keep games closer, the studies said.
  • The bigger the difference in fouls between the two teams playing, the more likely it was that the next call would come against the team with fewer fouls. When the home team had five or more fouls than the visiting team, there was a 69 percent chance the visiting team would be whistled for the next foul.
  • The professors looked only at first halves because teams committing intentional fouls while in catch-up mode at the end of games skewed the second-half results.

So, basically, whether or not your players are actually fouling the opposing team isn’t nearly as relevant as 1.) how much the other team is fouling, 2.) the reputations for fouling of the two teams, 3.) whether or not your team is leading the game, and 4.) whether the game is on national TV or not.

Call me old fashioned, but I’m not sure that any of those factors have anything to do with the act of committing a foul. How have refs responded to the study?

Prominent former ref Irv Brown has this to say:

“There’s something to it,” said Irv Brown, a former official who worked six Final Fours and was supervisor of officials for the Western Athletic and Big Sky conferences. “If you’re looking at the board and one team has a lot more fouls, you probably look a little harder to do something, subconsciously.”

Brown was apparently in the minority, though, as most refs responded to the study with the typical denials.

Anderson said he talked to a number of referees as part of the research and the majority said “you’re crazy. We don’t do this.”

The NCAA has asked for a copy of the study, and you’d hope they would at least discuss the results with their officials in hopes of avoiding these problems moving forward.

Based on the NCAA’s track record, I won’t be holding my breath.

EJSIC College Basketball Preview Series: Kentucky

Kentucky fans should have plenty to cheer about this season.

Kentucky fans should have plenty to cheer about this season.

In the world of big time college athletics, change is the only constant. The night of March 25th, 2009 I was verklempt (you’re welcome) to say the least. I was drunk (not nearly drunk enough, as I still remember the night) and staring at my ceiling, trying to convince myself that Travis Ford really did have redeeming qualities as a human being and a basketball coach. Losing in the NIT when you’re Kentucky is foreign territory to say the least.

Fast forward to October 29th, 2009 and it’s safe to say that things have changed for the Kentucky Wildcats. Out went Billy Bourbon and his “Toughness > Smartness” mentality and in came Calipari and his “Schmoozing > Boozing” approach. Along with his people skills, Coach Cal brought a bag full of highly touted recruits (it’s so… beautiful, isn’t it?) and expectations with him to the Bluegrass. In an onslaught of contracts, settlements, and Emory envelopes (kidding), my beloved Cats have gone from NIT also-rans to a near-consensus pre-season Top 5 team. The contrast from then until now couldn’t be more stark.

Last night, I got the privilege of watching the “debut” (read “glorified scrimmage”) of the aforementioned new and improved Kentucky Wildcats at the annual Blue/White game. After months of build-up, anticipation, and run-ins with the message board hate brigade, it was finally time to see the new Cats in action. Would anyone be able to knock down the trey? Would D-Cus rock the headband and ruin half my Tennessee jokes? Would John Wall poop ice cream and serve it to the crowd?

The answer to all of the above was a resounding YES. Continue reading

EJSIC College Basketball Preview Series: Kansas

Kansas players emerge from the locker room shortly before a routing practice

Kansas players emerge from the locker room shortly before a routine practice.

The fighting Jayhawks will take to the court this season as the preseason number 1 and a heavy favorite to reach the Final Four next March in Indianapolis.  Writers, coaches and pundits are all touting Kansas as the odds-on team to beat.

So, who are we, here at EJSIC, to disagree?

Bill Self’s squad is gearing up for a special season in Lawrence.  Led by the BigXII preseason Co-Players of the Year, guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich,  the team will be ready to face all comers.  Sophomores Tyshawn “Thumbs” Taylor, Travis Releford and twins Markieff and Marcus Morris look to improve on their solid freshman campaigns and become the solid core of the rotation that fans and coaches wanted them to be last year.  Added to the mix this year, of course, are the talented freshmen Elijah Johnson, Thomas Robinson and Xavier “Don’t Call Me Zay-Vier” Henry.  Jeff Withey and Xavier’s brother, C.J., also look to contribute as redshrit freshman transfers.

The only major question that surrounds this team will be whether there are enough minutes to go around.  Self has not ruled out, but also not directly alluded to, a possible redshirt or two this season.  Either way, the team will be (rock) chock-full of talent, athleticism, size and depth.  However the active roster and starting line up play out, the Jayhawks and their fans have plenty to be excited about.

Kansas will move quickly through the early part of their non-conference schedule, facing and dismissing mid-major fodder like Hofstra, Tennessee Tech, Central Arkansas and Memphis.   These games will build confidence for the ‘Hawks and end abruptly when they get too cocky and drop an embarrassing game to either Alcorn State or Radford at home.  To regain focus as a cohesive unit, the team will attempt to knock over a liquor store together.

Continue reading