If you were raised in the 1960’s and 1970’s you might be familiar with a song by Johnny Cash titled “It Ain’t Me Babe.” A chorus went like this, ……” But it ain’t me Babe. No, no , no, it ain’t me Babe. It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, Babe!”
Those words came hauntingly back to me following North Carolina’s victory over Gonzaga-the non mid-major mid-major-in the Men’s National Basketball Championship game on Monday evening. If you are looking to me to complain about the officiating, “It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for Babe!”
Almost immediately after the game-some even at halftime-many pundits started criticizing the officiating, saying it “ruined the flow of the game”. That it “cost Gonzaga a chance.” True, there were too many fouls called, especially in the first 10 or 11 minutes of the second half. True, it disrupted the flow of the game. True, it prevented Gonzaga from employing a major tactic of playing both of their 7-footers at the same time. True, they did have a major goof with 52 seconds left when they wrongly awarded North Carolina the ball on a deflection out of bounds. Hey, everyone is allowed a miss or two! Don’t pick on the guys in the pinstripes. They were just doing what they were told.
Before the 2015-16 season, in response to a 60-year low in scoring, the NCAA instituted new rules allowing more “freedom of movement”. No bumping, holding or pushing allowed. PLEASE, we need these dudes to score more so we will have a bigger television audience so we can milk advertisers for more money so we can build a bigger bureaucracy.
It worked. Scoring is up by more than 6 points per game. What they don’t tell us is that this increase is mostly in scoring from the free throw line. So what was hoped to be a more fluid, higher scoring type of game has resulted in a more disjointed, herky-jerky type of game with an increased parade to the free throw line. Lots of dead time while everyone scratches, spits and bounces the ball before shooting. That is exactly what we all got Monday evening.
So, if you are looking for me to pile on the refs, “It ain’t me Babe, it ain’t me you’re lookin’ for!”
• Larned put the rest of the Central Kansas League on notice that they are not going to easily give up the leadership in boys baseball following two straight years of championships. The Indians swept the Kingman Eagles in a big way last week.
• While we were all busy dribbling the basketball for the past few weeks, the baseball season quietly sneaked up on us and hopped right in the middle of things. High school, college and professional seasons are under way and already the Royals relief pitching looks to be a problem!
• Kansas has the longest streak of consecutive appearances in the Big Dance with 28 straight years, followed by North Carolina, Arizona and Duke
• Much has been made about the fact that Wichita State was not properly seeded in the NCAA tournament and, thus, had to meet Kentucky on the first weekend. That rematch marked only the second time in NCAA tournament history that two 30-win teams played in the first weekend! Wrongly seeded indeed!
• The Gonzaga-North Carolina championship game wore out the whistles with 44 fouls which resulted in 52 free throws!
• How ‘bout the state of South Carolina? Clemson wins the national championship in football, South Carolina’s women win the championship in basketball and Frank Martin’s men make it to the Final Four. Well done South Carolina!
• Should Kansas State’s Bill Snyder run for governor? Not in Kansas but Texas. He’s already beat everybody there!
Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.