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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

C-USA referees are the Real Maniacs


I was sitting no more then 15 feet away from Erroyl Bing when he was called for an unbelievable fifth foul. Even the zany antics of the Minges Maniacs seemed discreet compared to some of the bizarre calls of this officiating crew.

Five on five is hard enough in Conference USA. Add in a zebra or two, and the odds of success dwindle to almost nothing.

The funny thing about Saturday night’s East Carolina-Charlotte game was that both coaches were on the officials from the opening tip. Bill Herrion and Bobby Lutz barked like a pack of dogs on a Sunday ham. The more they complained, the more curious the calls became.

It can’t be that difficult. All coaches are looking for in officiating is consistency. If you make a call on one end, then make it on the other.

Herrion may hear from the league office after this comment that he made after the game on the Pirate Sports Network.

"The referees were absurd," Herrion said. “They can report me to the commissioner and I'll sit out a game ... but it's unfair to the kids."

It’s also unfair to the coaches, unfair to the fans, unfair for everyone involved.

At least Herrion and Lutz weren’t called for technical fouls. Louisville’s Rick Pitino wasn’t as fortunate in his game this past weekend against Cincinnati.

The Bearcats shot a school record 58 free throws against Louisville.

Pitino picked up what was described by the wire story as rapid-fire technicals and an automatic ejection in the Card’s 101-80 loss to Cincinnati.

"We got a directive two weeks ago out of the blue saying hand-checking would be called," Pitino said. "There was no mention of people being thrown out of bounds and assaulted.

"Guys just have to ref the game. I haven't been happy with it all season. It's got to be a two-way street. They just evened it up at the end."

Since winning 17 straight games, Louisville has lost three of four. The Cardinals lost their poise as well Saturday — Reece Gaines and Joshua Tinch also got technicals.

The Pirates are now on the outside looking in as far as the Conference USA tournament is concerned. East Carolina will be double-digit underdogs when they visit both Cincinnati and Louisville. The Pirates will probably be a slight underdog against St. Louis at home to close out the season.

I feel badly for Bill Herrion and the coaching staff.

I sincerely think they are doing everything in their power to make this team competitive. Perhaps all of our expectations were too high after last season, after this year’s start, and especially after the conference-opening win over nationally ranked Marquette.

These are the growing pains of playing in a major conference like Conference USA. This is a league that will probably get more teams in the NCAA tournament then the ACC gets in.

It’s very difficult, but the Pirates will trudge on.

Think about this. How many teams in the nation would have success playing back-to-back games at Cincinnati and at Louisville?

How would Duke fair? How would Kentucky handle the pair?

Now slot in East Carolina. That’s life in Conference USA. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but this Pirate program still has growing pains to get through.

The Pirates and the officials do have one thing in common. Both are desperate for consistency!

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:25:37 AM

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