John Gasaway, the brilliant college hoops writer took a look at the whistle-happy officials from Saturday night's clash between Ohio State and Syracuse. It's an interesting look at how the officiating likely ruined what could have been an amazing game between the two top seeds in the East Region. Buckeye fans spent most of the first half enraged at the early foul trouble for Jared Sulllinger, particularly the egregious whistle on his second foul. Gasaway's analysis does confirm that the game was truly an outlier, particularly for the Buckeyes' opponents. More from Gasaway after the jump:
Via John Gasaway at Basketball Prospectus:
I'm not saying the refs changed the outcome of the game. Actually they were more or less equally capricious with both teams. Until Syracuse started fouling to extend the contest, the numbers for free throws shot by the Buckeyes and the Orange were similar. Jared Sullinger took a seat with 13:42 remaining in the first half and didn't come back on the floor until after intermission. Aaron Craft fouled out for just the second time in 38 games.
I am saying the refs ruined what in all likelihood would have been a fantastic Elite Eight game. Don't hate the refs, hate the rules. We've reached the point where officiating a basketball game is like judging a figure-skating competition. Fouls need to be redefined, and in particular we have to get away from this idea that a defensive player can demand the action be stopped and a foul be called one way or the other by flopping anytime he chooses.
The entire analysis is well worth the quick read. Luckily for Buckeye fans, the the constant whistles affected Syracuse just as much, if not more and OSU has moved on to yet another big, physical team in Kansas.