Study finds refs too even-handed

November 24, 2009

They don't all need glasses. But if you always suspected basketball referees are biased - well, you're right, according to two professors who studied the matter.

Refs favor the home team, the academics say. They're big on "make-up" calls. They make more calls against teams in the lead, and the discrepancy grows if the game is on national TV.

The professors studied 365 college games during the 2004-05 season and found that refs had a terrific knack for keeping the foul count even, regardless of which team was more aggressive.

Exhibit A: The 2005 Final Four meeting between Illinois and Louisville. The Illini, known for being more aggressive defensively, got whistled for the first seven fouls. By the end, the foul count was Louisville 13, Illinois 12. The Illini won 72-57.

The take-home message for coaches: The more aggressive your team, the better, because in the end, the foul count is going to be about even no matter what.

•Tournament MVP E'Twaun Moore scored 22 points, and No. 6 Purdue beat No. 9 Tennessee 73-72 in the championship game of the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, when Wayne Chism missed an open 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. ... A lawyer for UCLA forward Nikola Dragovic said his client will plead not guilty in an assault case that led to his suspension. ... Southern California forward Kasey Cunningham is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament. ... South Carolina forward Dominique Archie (sprained knee) is out indefinitely.

- Associated Press

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