Monday, March 20, 2006





Very Interesting. (Read the caption: Foul on ARNOLD?!?!?!?!?)

Why post links to these photos (the last one we will point out to our readers is in the Huskies' hometown paper, THE SEATTLE TIMES)?

Illinitalk said nothing about officiating all season. In fact, we haven't talked about officials in this space since this blog was born. I've officiated before. It's tough. Refs blow calls. That's part of the game. Teams are supposed to put that behind them.

And...refs usually blow calls equally.

That was not the case Saturday night during the Illininois-Washington whistlefest in San Diego.

Check out the box score here, paying particular attention to the free throw differential. That's right. Illinois was called for 28 fouls. Washington was called for 17. Illinois shot 11 free throws. Washington shot 39!!!!

And it wasn't as if Washington wasn't playing physical, as the photos linked above attest.

Furthermore, the Washington players themselves said they were being physical. Just read what the Huskies' Mike Jensen on guarding James Augustine from this ESPN article:

"I put my whole body in front of him," Jensen said. "I elbowed him. I butt-fronted him. I shoved him. Whatever it took. A couple times he got frustrated -- he'd push me or shove me -- but I just pushed him right back."

How many personal fouls did Mike Jensen end up with? ONE!

So what is our point? It's that something just wasn't right about the officiating Saturday night. We realize we have to live with the loss and unfortunately so do the Illini players and coaches. But look at the box score and then watch the game tape and come back and tell us with a straight face that the game was called fairly.

As an Illini friend of mine told me this morning, "I'm not into black helicopters but..."

Neither are we but...we're a blog so we can speculate:

Look carefully again at the box score paying close attention to the names of the officials. Now check out this box score from the Duke-Boston College game that was played Feb. 1, again paying close attention to the names of the officials. Anything jump out at you? Gary Maxwell perhaps? Yep, he called both games.

You remember that Duke-BC game. It was the one where Duke's Sheldon Williams did some serious shoving of his own at the end of the game, only to have the foul called on BC, which basically gave Duke the win. Andy Katz blogs about it here.

Does Gary Maxwell just routinely miss big calls in big games? Does he play favorites? Will we ever know?

Some have said this reminds them of the 2001 loss in the Elite Eight to Arizona. I disgree. I thought the foul calls in that game were lopsided...until I watched our game Saturday.

Speaking of Arizona, I know a lot of their folks were upset with the officiating in last year's Elite Eight game. Was the Washington game payback? Again, we might never know.

We have no proof any of our speculation is true. Just throwing out theories.

The Writers
Rick Morrissey is an Illinitalk favorite but this column from yesterday is ridiculous. Come on Rick. Look at the box score. Calling out Weber for complaining about the way the game was called? Do us a favor and call out K, Roy and Calhoun next time they do that. Give me a break.

Mark Tupper has a great summary here.

Weber's Suit
This photo doesn't do it justice but it was sweet.

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