The Big 12 Conference publicly reprimanded Bob Huggins Thursday for his comments about officiating after the Mountaineers loss to Kansas this past Saturday night.
Big 12 commissioner Bowlsby said, “There are proper channels within the conference structure to handle officiating concerns. Coach Huggins’ public comments are contrary to the conference’s sportsmanship standards.”
You tell them, Bob (Bowlsby). While you’re at it, maybe you can also publicly reprimand the officials for being the worst maybe anyone has ever seen, and they have been getting gradually worse every single year which is scary because five years ago they were AWFUL. So if you want to see worse than awful, tune into some Big 12 basketball (especially WVU games).
What does it even mean to be reprimanded by the conference? Does Bowlsby come to Morgantown and smack Huggins on the hand with a ruler and tell him, “Bad Bob, that wasn’t nice”? In all honesty, it’s just a way for the conference to act all big and bad and say they did something about comments from a coach, even if the comments are 100% truth.
Up until West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2012, I guarantee you hardly anyone knew a referee’s name. If they did, it probably was not more than a couple of them (stand up and take a bow, Tim Higgins). Fast forward to the present. I can now recognize a ref as soon as the game starts from the back of his head. I also know his name, what he does in the offseason and if the Mountaineers will have a shot to win that game or not.
And this is because officials now are feeling left out and all of a sudden want to be known more than the actual players.
Now, the Mountaineers did not lose to Kansas solely because of officiating. Even with the unheard of 35-to-2 free throw discrepancy, WVU lost that game fair and square by their lack of execution down the stretch and because of their mental mindset that has taken over the second halves of games.
Had the officiating been normal and fair, West Virginia probably would have gotten to the line around 15-18 times and would have won the game fairly easily. And even at that, the free throws still would have been about plus 12, in favor of the Jayhawks.
The national media radio shows were for once, very pro-WVU in their comments the next day. And that’s because Huggins is so nationally well-liked and respected. Eddie House, on Sirius radio commented that there was no doubt favoritism was shown in that contest and that the refs took the game away from West Virginia. There was an outcry of support from almost everyone.
Huggins suggested that maybe the officials should have to hold press conferences after each game, especially since they get paid tons of money, but that will never happen. I would guess if they answer questions like they make calls, the interviews may never end.
Anyway, the Kansas officiating debacle may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the team. Huggins got ejected, which showed his players he will go to bat for them anytime, anywhere, and he also told his guys after the game that “it wasn’t your fault.”
Those four words may just unite the team more than anyone could expect. They have already put a beat down on Baylor since then. The Big 12 can reprimand, degrade and play big boy all they want.
That is when the Mountaineers usually rise to the top.