Monday, February 06, 2006

Duke gets calls (no way!)

Ok, so with the referees from the Florida State at Duke game getting suspended for the horrible technical called on A. Johnson that got him disqualified from the game, there's been all sorts of Duke bias discussion basically every college basketball message board on the internet. Duke Basketball Report did a statistical comparison of the number of fouls Duke gets versus their opponents, and compares it to other top teams. Suprisingly enough (especially for DBR!) they reach the conclusion that there's nothing abnormal about Duke's foul situation, and that the whole world is just jealous of Duke's success.

On the other hand, feedmyego over at (big surprise, IC is all over this) did a bit more digging and came up with this pretty interesting dataset regarding Duke's foul situation this year. He compared it to UNC's - a team that has shot more FT's than their opponents by a pretty large margin (similar numbers to Duke actually), but a team that should be expected to get those extra attempts because they pound it inside with Hansbrough, Noel and Terry on a regular basis. This is what he came up with:

North Carolina

So - what do we see? Well, it looks fairly typical actually ... the close games are hard fought, with both teams getting about the same number of FTA's as they battle back and forth. When UNC is blowing someone out, they have a larger number of FTA's as they play better and their opponents try to keep it close. This is what I'd expect to see for a normal team.


Uh, wow. The closer the game, the more FTA's Duke has. Maybe it's "experience" or "intelligence" or maybe refs just are much more attentive to any contact against Duke. It's not like Duke's opponents are shooting fewer FT's in those games, it's that Duke goes to the line 6 times more per game when it gets close. It's remarkable Duke can have so many tight games where they dramatically outshoot their opponents from the line, that's counterintuitive to what you would expect in basketball.

North Carolina '04-'05

Just as a final comparison, there's the numbers from UNC's National Championship team from last year - one of the most dominant interior teams in the ACC in a long time. They show the same typical pattern you'd expect, a marked difference from Duke's this year. There's analysis for several other historic teams in this thread - and they all show the same trend you'd expect. Something is very odd about those Duke numbers from this year.

A huge part of the reason people feel Duke gets all the calls is because in close games down the wire it seems every huge call goes their way (or the majority of them). Looking at the stat breakdown here, it seems to back that up with Duke going to the line a ton in close matchups. Yes, they are a smart and well coached team - but they aren't that smart and well coached. Coach K works the refs better than anyone in college basketball today, and it shows up in the ends of games when Duke gets just a hesitation more on the whistle than their opponents.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing wrong with the DBR is that there is no way possible to determine how many NON-calls Duke got during games or down the stretch. Everyone knows they get away with stuff, but there's no way to keep track of it in the stats. A key idea they conviently left out.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UNC HAS shot more FT's than their opponents in all games, but in conference games they have shot one fewer FT than their opponents.

Dook on the other hand has shot 94 more FT's than their opposition in conference games.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This also regarding officiating durning the Duke/BC game. The GT/GT game also gets a mention:

ACC meets with BC-Duke refsposted: Friday, February 3, 2006 | Feedback

The ACC reviewed a number of calls from the Duke-Boston College game Wednesday night, including the final drive by the Eagles' Tyrese Rice in Duke's 83-81 victory at Conte Forum.

ACC coordinator of officials John Clougherty said he spoke with Boston College coach Al Skinner, but he wouldn't say what he said to Skinner regarding whether the correct call was made on Rice's drive with nine seconds remaining. Clougherty declined to comment on whether he also spoke with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

With the Eagles down by three, Rice drove on Duke's Shelden Williams. Contact occurred but no call was made. Skinner thought a foul should have been called. So did Rice.

"We looked at that play, replayed it, replayed it," Clougherty said.


He wouldn't say.

"I visited at length with the officials after the game," Clougherty said.


"I tell all of our referees whether we make [the call] or don't make [it], we have to be as accurate as we can be [on those last plays]," Clougherty said. "We don't get another chance after the last play. BC doesn't get another chance after that last play. Whether we blow the whistle or not on that last play, we have to be accurate. Whether it's that game or the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game the day before [which was decided on an over-the-back call on the Yellow Jackets, negating a basket], we have to be accurate. That was a game-ending call."

Virginia Tech won the game at the other end on Deron Washington's free throw with five-tenths of a second left.

"I'm not saying either call was right or wrong, but we have to be right on those calls," Clougherty said. "We don't have time to recover. BC would have gone to the line with a chance to go down by one."

Clougherty said he understands why BC was upset over the free-throw situation because of the discrepancy (37 attempts to 13), but he said that reaction is natural when you look at the stat sheet.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Harper said...

When I think of this I remember when JJ Reddick basically pulled Jarrett Jack's shirt over his head in the ACC Championship game, only to have a foul called on Jack. That officiating was worse than the super bowl.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is that Duke gets phantom calls in close games, often times on the perimeter, and the other teams do not get calls when they take it inside. Rice and Galloway in Duke's last two close games were hammered with no call. Does everyone really think FSU's point guard just tossed the ball 50 ft to the left with being hammered? And oh yeah, the ball went off Williams. I agree with an earlier post, Duke can crowd, bump, and slap while they are on defense, and other teams cannot. Example, Reddick on the three point line against FSU. Jason RIch has good man D, and Reddick leans left into Rich, throws his hands in the air like he is shooting, and gets a call. Duke gets favoritism, but not out of conference...hence they lose to Georgetown.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhhh....if you look at the data on the 1-5 point games, it's skewed b/c of 2 games, FSU and BC. In the other 3, Duke was near the +10 mark, insignificantly different than the +8 average for the other victory-margin sets.

So, if you want to base the conspiracy theory on 2 games, go ahead. But just know it's only 2 games!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez the refs better do a better job their one loss Duke actually shot 4 Free Throws LESS than G'town.

Didn't the refs see that Duke was losing? Couldn't they have hurried up and called some more fouls on G'Town?


8:33 PM  
Blogger J Holden said...

"Uhhh....if you look at the data on the 1-5 point games, it's skewed b/c of 2 games, FSU and BC. In the other 3, Duke was near the +10 mark, insignificantly different than the +8 average for the other victory-margin sets."

um, so you're going to throw out 2 games BECAUSE of their obvious bias?!?! haha...that's the fricking point, you idiot. those 2 games were CLEARLY manipulated, and THAT is what skews Dook's numbers. plain and simple.

and this is why the refs didn't bring Dook back against GTown with FT's. Um, let's say it all together...Out. Of. Conference.

wow....way to simple of a concept.

7:41 AM  
Blogger ICNutting said...

Ranting conspiracy-theory diatribes hold more water when you use proper spelling.

8:59 AM  
Blogger J Holden said...

i hope you're not talking to me...because calling someone out for leaving out an "o" in the word "too" is pathetically unimportant.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to measure the number of fouls called, why not use the number of fouls called (and not FTA). FTA can be unreliable since (1) a good FT-shooting team will hits the front-end of 1-and-1s more often, giving them up to 6 more FTA per game (3 per half), (2) a team that attacks the basket will get more 2-shot (or "and-1") fouls before the bonus.

If you want to get truly scientific about it, you should also subtract out "stop-the-clock" fouls committed by the then-losing team in the closing minute or two of the game. Oh, and take the tempo (i.e., number of possessions) into account. A fast-moving game is going to have more opportunities for fouls than (say) a slow-moving Princeton-style offense.

So until then, your "Duke gets more calls in close games" could be whining about the fact that teams put Duke on the line in close games so they can get the ball back (aka, self-inflicted foul shots).

Or you can keep living in your nice little fantasy world where the only reason your team can't beat Duke is because the refs are bought and paid employees of Coach K. It's really up to you.

- A Duke grad student

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