Monday, April 8, 2013

COME ON ZEBRAS by Steve Tannen

I do not believe referees or umpires decide who wins or loses.  They don't fail to hit the cutoff man.  Never turn their head on defense, miss a tackle or run the wrong route.  I do think we've seen some horrific officiating in college basketball this post season.  The jump ball called with 6 seconds remaining in the Louisville victory versus Wichita State was obscene.  Refs certainly panic and choke like players.  This was a perfect case.  Why the quick whistle?  Again, the zebras didn't blow the Shocker double digit lead in the second half.  They also didn't go 26 minutes without a turnover before coming unglued and coughing it up 5 times during a critical 3 minute period late in the game.  I don't believe they had much to do with Wichita State point guard Malcolm Armstead hitting 1 of 10 shots.  They just stunk it up at a highly visible moment.  Awful.
I like Michigan to win it this evening.  For the most part on Saturday Louisville was not able to apply the pressure that sent shivers down the spines of so many fallen opponents this season.  When Kevin Ware suffered that gruesome broken leg it was early in the Duke game and the Cardinals were able to ride the emotions and overwhelm the Blue Devils without their fallen teammate.  Once that situation settled down the reality he was not in the rotation and the Rick Pitino bench was shorter and less dangerous, the Shockers almost knocked them off.  I think the Wolverines are better suited with more firepower and multiple options to handle UL.  I see a grinder with Michigan taking their first natty since 1989.
A year ago the Trailblazers pretty much mailed it in down the stretch losing their final 7 games and 9 of the last 10.  They had to deal with the official end of Brandon Roy and Greg Oden with the franchise and the dismissal of Nate McMillan as coach.  Then it appeared owner Paul Allen pulled his head out and cleaned house.  New GM, coach and point guard.  There were times this season when fans got a nice glimpse into a bright new future.  With their youth, bad spells did surface, a roller coaster ride if you will.  Right now they are playing as poorly as anyone in the Association.  They've barely been competitive during this 8 game losing streak.  Last night's loss to Dallas was the 1st that was less than double digits and Portland needed a furious 30-15 4th quarter rally to make a game of it.  Perhaps it's for the best as they simply accumulate more ping pong balls for the lottery.  Perhaps it's just step one of a long rebuilding process.  The bottom line is this extends the streak to 13 years without winning a playoff series.  The remaining schedule is no day at the beach with each opponent very much with a lot to play for.  Home games this Wed & Fri against the Lakers & Thunder followed by trips to Denver and the Clippers before wrapping at the Rose Garden against the Warriors.  Will they win another game?

No comments: