Tuesday, February 09, 1999

C-USA NOTEBOOK


Whistle blown on refs

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dale Kelley's phone rang often. Typical Monday. Sort of.

        There are always comments and complaints directed to Conference USA's supervisor of officials after a weekend of games, but this was different. This was the second time C-USA officials broke down with their league's premier team, Cincinnati, playing a nationally televised game.

        Kelley heard from Bearcats coach Bob Huggins, among others. Although he had not seen the tape of DePaul vs. UC — he was planning to do so today — Kelley expressed some concern about officials being the focus for the entirety of games they work.

        “When you're coming to the end of games, you want to be sure that concentration is at its highest level,” Kelley said. “If you don't have concentration, you're going to have breakdowns.”

        When he watches the tape, Kelley will see that as with UC's loss last month to UNC Charlotte, there were multiple mistakes in the DePaul game, not just the call that became the focus of postgame discussion.

        • There were three fundamental errors on Paul Kaster's foul call against Melvin Levett just before the clock expired in the first overtime period against DePaul, which led to a game-winning free throw by DePaul guard Willie Coleman.

        First, there was no advantageous situation created by contact because Coleman was not trying to make a genuine play. Second, Kaster made the call while running at least 10 feet behind and to the left of Coleman and was not in position to see whether Levett struck him from the right side. Third, Coleman and Levett were behind the three-point line when the whistle was blown. Given that Coleman threw a wild shot into the air as the call was made, he should have been awarded three free throws instead of two.

        In regulation time, UC center Kenyon Martin fouled out while challenging DePaul's Quentin Richardson for a rebound with 29 seconds left. But after an injury timeout, officials placed center Lance Williams at the free throw line. UC coaches caught the error, but reconsidered protesting because Williams is a lesser shooter. He missed the second of two attempts.

        “I'm always concerned whenever there's any question about officials being involved in determining the outcome of any games,” Kelley said.

        THRILLED 'VILLE: The organizers of the Conference USA tournament in Birmingham March 3-6 had sold 6,500 of 10,500 all-session tickets before Friday, when Louisville learned it would have its ban on postseason tournament play lifted. They've sold 2,000 since.

        When the result was positive, spirits picked up at Louisville. “Our practice had a renewed vigor,” coach Denny Crum said. “I don't think you can say it wasn't a factor.”

        Louisville has a huge game Thursday at UNC Charlotte and then Sunday has a crucial home game with Georgia Tech. With seven games left and a 12-7 record, the Cards could get to 18 wins with a 5-2 finish and one victory in the league tournament. They are No.27 on the RPI.

        AROUND THE LEAGUE: Houston's win at Memphis Saturday was its first C-USA road victory — ever.

        • Memphis' point guard play has gone from poor to unspeakable. Freshman Dinno Daniels and junior Keiron Shine combined for 17 turnovers and three assists in a loss to Louisville Thursday.

        • UNC Charlotte's No.21 standing in the RPI is the program's highest ever, including the past two seasons when the 49ers earned back-to-back NCAA invitations for the first time.

       



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