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An Official(s) Nightmare

Let me preface this all by noting that my feelings would be the same no matter who won Thursday's UB-Akron tilt. And allow me to note that, from the games I've seen this season, officiating in the Mid-American Conference has been at its best at any point during UB's tenure. But what transpired at Alumni Arena this night? Laughable, but not in a funny way.

I don't meant to saddle the officials with totally determining the outcome. UB had plenty of chances to position itself for victory. You hardly help your own cause when at key points you're missing dunks (Calvin Betts), layups (Vadim Fedotov) and commiting reckless fouls on three-point shots (John Boyer).

But a D-I  basketball game with 14 traveling violations? A game where UB's Max Boudreau is called for a foul on a screen down two points with less than 40 seconds left when the Bulls set (at least) two illegal screens in the first half that drew a no-call? Look. All you want out of officiating is consistency. It wasn't there Thursday night, as is the case in any game I've seen worked by Bart Wegnke and James (The Showman) Ferrari. (WNY native Ken Turner also worked the game, although he -commendably - took a Let-'em-Play approach. Not that the other two guys gave him a chance to blow the whistle).

It's stunning what college officials (some of whom make more than NBA officials, and over a shorter season) get away with. Veteran D.J. Cartensten, a veteran MAC offical, blundered his way through Wednesday's Bona-St. Louis game, anticipating calls instead of seeing the game. You'd expect better -- WAY BETTER -- considering teams in the A-10 often spend 5K to 7K per game on referees when expenses are added to the mix.

-- Bob DiCesare

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