Classic Thoughts

Several years ago, the Big East conference cut ties with an official that was overbearing and made himself the center of attention in games. It might be time for the league to do the same again.

Official Curtis Shaw, who ruined the West VirginiaMarshall game on Wednesday evening with a parade of calls that turned the contest into a parade to the free throw line, has long been know as the quickest trigger in the nation in terms of handing out technical fouls. That's o.k., as long as it's consistent. But what is not o.k. is injecting yourself into a leading role in the game, and making what should be a matchup between collegians into a personal showcase. Shaw, and to a lesser extent, crewmates Mike Kitts and Paul Janssen, called the game so tightly that the athletes involved never had a chance to get into a flow or show their talents. Instead, it was a whistleblowing competition of such monumental proportions that fouls outnumbered field goals by 52-43.

If this were a onetime occurrence, it could be explained away. However, Shaw's quick temper and penchant for dominating the action are well-known. It was just that sort of behavior that caused the league to stop employing an official who showed similar qualities several years ago. Could it be done again?

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West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins is always quite careful to refrain from commenting on officiating after games, even when called upon to do so by reporters. He did that again after the MU game, using his mantra "You are going to get me in trouble," when responding to inquiries about his thoughts on officiating. However, Marshall head coach Donnie Jones didn't follow the same path, as he was quoted questioning a foul call on Mark Dorris that sent the guard to the Herd bench. Just wondering, will C-USA look into that action?

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Starting a game can give a player a different perspective, and often lead to a different performance, than coming off the bench. Freshman John Flowers has learned just that in his first two starting assignments against South Florida and Marshall.

Coming off the bench, a player has the chance to watch the action for at least a few minutes. He can study the opposition, see what they are doing, and be prepared once he enters the game. Starting, however, is a different matter. A player has to be ready to perform from the outset, and doesn't have that chance to watch and analyze.

In his starting assignments, Flowers looked like the freshman that he is. He missed some shots that he has been making in his substitute roles, and also has committed a couple of crucial errors – most notably fouling MU's Darryl Merthie on a three-point attempt with 31 seconds to go.

This isn't to bury Flowers, however. Just as he has rapidly improved during the first 19 games of his collegiate career, so too will he grow more comfortable in a starting role. It's just another aspect of playing that game that he will have to learn about and grow into.

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