Chuck Landon: Special treatment for Tigers sickening
I am sick of Memphis.
I am sick of the preferential treatment the Tigers’ basketball program receives.
I am sick of Memphis being the only Conference USA basketball program that gets a home-court advantage on the road.
I am sick of the Tigers’ arrogance.
I am sick of watching officiating crews assess technical fouls on opposing players who are frustrated because they aren’t getting the same calls as Memphis players.
I am sick of the Tigers getting away with traveling nearly every time they make a move to the hoop as though the Memphis on their jerseys means Grizzlies and they are permitted NBA steps.
I am sick of Memphis players and coaches getting away with taunting and chest bumping and grabbing opposing players while officiating crews act like three blind mice.
I am sick of C-USA’s coordinator of officials assigning inept crews to officiate games as significant and as emotional as Marshall vs. Memphis was Saturday at the Henderson Center.
What caused all this bile to boil over?
It obviously was Marshall’s 87-67 loss to Memphis Saturday before 8,252 fans at the Henderson Center.
Now, having said that permit me to make one point abundantly clear. It in no way, shape or form cost Marshall the game. Memphis deserved to win and the Herd most definitely deserved to lose.
But this isn’t about winning or losing. Instead, this is about right and wrong. And let’s face it. Everybody in C-USA knows Memphis gets away with a lot of wrongs.
Take the MU-Memphis game on Saturday, for example.
With 10:12 remaining, Marshall’s DeAndre Kane fouled Memphis’ Joe Jackson hard on a layup attempt. After hitting the floor, Jackson popped forcefully to his feet with apparent bad intent.
That’s when everything broke loose.
Memphis star Will Barton chest-bumped Kane. Tigers’ head coach Josh Pastner ran onto the floor and put his hands on Marshall players, including Kane. Memphis’ strength and conditioning coach also left the bench area and ran onto the floor.
After the officiating crews watched the videotape on the court-side monitor, they assessed Kane with a flagrant foul. That’s all. Barton got away with his chest-bump. Pastner got away with his breach of coaching etiquette. Memphis got away with everything just like always.
Never mind that Kane’s foul wasn’t flagrant. Never mind that Barton had fouled Kane in exactly the same fashion during the first half and wasn’t called for a flagrant foul. Never mind that Barton also taunted Marshall’s Dennis Tinnon, yet wasn’t punished.
Such is life when a team plays Memphis at home or on the road. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. But it’s reality.
Again, did that beat Marshall Saturday?
This statistic says it all: Marshall allowed 13 slam dunks.
“That’s outrageous,” said Tinnon, after learning of the total. “I’ve played a lot of basketball and I’ve never been in a game where my team gave up 13 dunks.”
OK, Tom Herrion, when is the last time one of your teams got dunked on 13 times?
“Never,” he replied.
One of his teams probably never played so poorly defensively that the opponent shot 69.2 percent (27-for-39) on two-point field goals, either. But Memphis did Saturday.
So, no, all the preferential treatment didn’t cost MU the game. But it’s still wrong. It’s still unfair. It’s still frustrating.
And I’m still sick of it.
Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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