Sunday Sniping: Zebras Run Amok, Tennis Transcendence, Tiger Rocked

Here’s an old saw I haven’t talked about for awhile. Too many of the “elite” college referees are doing too many games.

I just turned on the telly and caught the last couple seconds of Notre Dame’s impressive road W at UConn, which started at noon today (Sunday). And whom did I see under the hoop, wearing the traditional zebra stripes?

Jim Burr, that’s whom.

In case you haven’t been keeping track, he also called Saturday night’s U of L/ Seton Hall game in Newark, which ended after 10:00 pm.

Now, I know that it isn’t that arduous to get from Newark to Connecticut . . . but still. Burr is not some twentysomething who can party all night and get up at the crack of dawn for work, slap on some after shave and be fresh for the tasks ahead. There is no way he could have all his faculties for a second game in a half day.

In fact, he made that inexplicable call Saturday night, aiding the Cardinals last night. What should have been a T against U of L for calling a timeout it didn’t have, Burr blew his whistle, stopped play, then gave the ball back to the Cards out of bounds, ignoring that an attempt was made right in front of him to call a timeout the team didn’t have.

Despite that obvious fatigue, he was back at it a half a day later calling an important Big East game.

Exhibit 2: The lead official in yesterday’s West Virginia vs. Syracuse encounter was Karl Hess. This is the game that fell in the Orange’s favor, when the zebras missed as obvious a goal tending call as I can ever recall. Had the correct call been made, the Mountaineers would have tied the game with seconds to play at the Carrier Dome. Instead, they lost.

It was Karl Hess’s 21st game in the last 26 days.

It’s not like he was getting up in the same bed every morning and taking the same route to sit at the same desk. Hotels. Airports. Cabs. Airport food. Fitful sleep. Lots of waiting.

The college game deserves better. Much better. Fatigued refs are changing the course of the season.

* * * * *

I’m now watching the final games of the replay of Novak Djokovic’s win in the Australian Open.

The level of tennis he and Rafa Nadal are playing in the fifth set after almost six hours of play is extraordinary. The World Wide Leader has already dubbed this an “Instant Classic.” It says so right in the corner of the screen.

Who am I to disagree?

At 5:53, it was the longest major final in the open era. By almost an hour. And for the winner, it came with a day’s less rest time than Nadal, after ND’s five set/ five hour semi W over Andy Murray.

I guess at some point, I’m going to have to watch the whole match. I’m sure ESPN will milk it for all its worth.

* * * * *

Tiger Woods was stared down by a never heard of named Robert Rock in the HSBC Championship.

Well, Abu Dhabi doo.

The Messiah finished in a tie for 3d, after being tied for the lead, heading into the last day of play.

All together now . . . Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!


  1. doug
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of officiating, which I try to ignore, tiptoeing John Cahill, highly regarded based on seeing him at every Final 4, is my least favorite official. He seems to thrive on making his presence known whenever he visits the Yum. I recall technical on Preston last year for inciting the student section. And I thought his “You suck” chant from the student section in the Nova game was well deserved.

  2. cbcard
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Jim Burr is a couple of years into receiving his social security. One of the reasons there aren’t many good young officials is because the “old pros” get all the calls.

    It’s the old “How do you get experience if you can’t get a job?” syndrome.

  3. Big Smooth
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    All the officials in the WVA-SU game should be suspended for one of the most atrocious non-calls I have seen in a long time. Huggy Bear was amazingly calm after getting royally screwed.
    Made the mistake of turning over to the tennis replay last night. Could not stop until the end at 1:00 AM. Nadal’s will and competitivity is by the far the greatest of any athlete today.

  4. Seedy K
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    That winner Down Under also showed a lot of will himself. Two champions.

  5. fred
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Robert Rock is a pretty good golfer from Great Britain. He won the Italian Open in June. Do not be surprised if Tiger wins the Masters.

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