Hank Nichols knows good officiating when he sees it. He says he's seen a lot of it during the NCAA tournament. Gene Keady, Terry Holland and Lou Carnasecca might disagree.
Nichols, the NCAA's coordinator of officials, knows well the pressure of tournament officiating. He worked 10 Final Fours and six NCAA championship games, more than any official. And he feels a lot of the complaints and abuse being heaped on the officials during this year's tournament aren't warranted."I think most games in the tournament have been officiated pretty well," Nichols said. "I don't say every play is called right, but if we're in the 92-94 percent range, we're doing what we should do. Good refs are 94-96 percent."
But with 14 of the first 48 games this year decided by three points or less, good officiating isn't enough to satisfy everyone.
It certainly didn't help Keady, who lost control Sunday and blistered officials with an obscenity-laced diatribe after Purdue team lost a one-point decision to Texas.
Nichols, who attended the Purdue-Texas game, thought Keady was a bit off-base.
Virginia's two-point loss to Syracuse on Sunday was decided in the final seconds when Derrick Coleman blocked Bryant Stith's drive to the hoop.
Was there contact? Was it a foul? Holland, the Cavaliers' coach, certainly thought so.
Shortly before Keady shredded the officiating in his game, Billy Singleton got a technical and an eight-point St. John's lead melted to two against Duke, which ultimately won by four points. Was it too quick a T? Singleton's coach, thought so.
"I've come to the conclusion that every call makes about 50 percent of the coaches, players and fans happy," he said.