You may be familiar with the phenomenon of tinnitus, described by the Mayo Clinic as a ringing or other noise in one or both of your ears. It’s not really caused by external sound at the moment and others around you can’t hear it.
But it’s very real, possibly caused by aging, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system, so says the folks at Mayo on their website.
But it may have come from another source, as West Virginia and Texas Tech basketball fans learned on Saturday afternoon, with both teams likely leaving the Lubbock, Texas arena with a ringing in the ears that may take a month or two to go away. .
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No vaccine will be needed to cure it. They just have to start playing basketball games not officiated by Kipp Kissinger, Michael Greenstein or Marques Pettigrew.
Have you ever had a nail in your tire while driving down the highway? Pretty irritating, okay, as the air seeps in until the tire goes flat and your attitude is destroyed.
That’s how they refereed Texas Tech’s 78-65 win over West Virginia, the Mountaineers’ third straight loss to a Top 20 Big 12 team. It started with a loss to No. 7 Kansas, then at home against No. 5 Baylor and finally against the 18th-ranked Red Raiders.
You see, what you had with those two teams was the makings of an intriguing game, an important game for each team. You had two physical and defensive teams of men taking up a lot of space just by being in the gym, each vying for position.
“It’s a contact sport,” Taz Sherman, West Virginia’s leading scorer in the game with 21 points, would later note.
The officials, like the coaches, identify the participants. They know what they have in their hands and, the idea is not to take away the identity of either team… or so it always seemed.
Yet this group of officials had decided from the moment he stepped on the floor that people had paid for their seats to watch their act, as if they were some kind of jazz trio and what they were blowing didn’t were not strident whistles but rather saxophone, trumpet and clarinet.
That’s not to say they favored one team over another. As an aside here, I could also say that doesn’t mean they haven’t either. Five minutes into the match, they had whistled five fouls.
All of them were in West Virginia, which certainly took away from the kind of aggressive defense they like to play…but chances are most of those five fouls were legitimate.
However, they had just started. It’s a foul rate per minute. By the time they ran out of steam, they had committed 50 fouls in 40 minutes of play.
Try to do something good while being interrupted every 45 seconds or so…I don’t care about cooking dinner, studying for an exam, or driving to Grandma’s house.
Has a team taken advantage of it?
As usual, the home team did it. The officials are like everyone else, they don’t like to be called dirty names, made fun of or threatened, and it was packed, high decibel band rooted for Texas Tech… so there may have been an unconscious bias that led to 30 fouls called on WVU and only 20 on Texas Tech.
How much did this hurt the climbers? Well, four of their players were fouled, none from Texas Tech.
WVU lost Gabe Osabuohien, who had worked very hard all year to stay in games; starter Jalen Bridges, guard Malik Curry, who was taking over from an offside Sean McNeil, and big man Pauly Paulicap, who had his best game of the season.
Now no one was blaming the outcome on the officials, although if free speech was allowed in the Big 12 it is suspected there might have been some criticism… but that is just one man’s opinion , although a man wrote about more than 4,000 games. Anyway.
What suffered, however, was the play on the pitch.
“Any stoppage in play is going to destroy the rhythm,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “Somebody throw something on the ground, somebody get hurt. Stoppage time does not lead to continuity.
Shooting comes from continuity. You get into the flow, you hit one, two, maybe three in a row. But if you huddle while a replay is being watched or while someone else is shooting free throws or just while a play you were trying to run is stopped in the middle, it doesn’t lead to any good.
That’s not an excuse. Sherman, for example, wasn’t going to use it as such, even though aside from scoring, he had as choppy a game as the officiant, being charged with six of WVU’s 17 unusual turnovers.
“It’s on us,” Sherman said when asked if this game was called any differently than any other game this season. “You can’t blame anyone but us. It’s out of control. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. We fould a lot, we caused fouls to our big players early on.
“We can’t blame anyone. We have to control everything we can control.
Sherman was pressed on how it affects a player’s ability to stay in the flow of play and his mental approach to playing with so many fouls called.
“We have to play through this,” he said. “We are in the Power 5 and we have to play through the tricky fouls. It’s hard sometimes, but you should only control what you can control. The contact will take place. It’s a contact game. It’s totally physical, especially in a conference game like this where you have two teams that are known as defensive teams.
And so on, but if anyone knows how to hear the sound of that whistle ringing in the heads of players and coaches, please pass it on so they don’t have to take care of it.