Five Ohio State players accounted for 88 percent of the Buckeyes’ minutes during Sunday’s loss at Purdue. If they seemed a little tired, they probably weren’t alone.
The officials might’ve been gassed, too.
Mike Kitts, Mike Sanzere and Ted Valentine worked the Saturday night game between Michigan State and Illinois in East Lansing, Mich., (a 9 p.m. ET tipoff), then made to West Lafayette, Ind., in time for the 1 p.m. tip between the Buckeyes and Boilermakers.
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, that’s a 250-mile road trip that probably didn’t end until right around 3 a.m. Sunday morning. Tough to get enough rest on that timetable.
That was 10 hours before tipoff of the game between the top two teams in the Big Ten, after doing a critical game for two Big Ten teams in Michigan State and Illinois fighting for NCAA Tournament bids.
Talking about the rigors of the season the other day, OSU coach Thad Matta said he told freshman Aaron Craft to start getting more sleep – nine or 10 hours a night instead of eight. These guys aren’t teenagers playing a Big Ten schedule for the first time, but before probably the biggest game of the Big Ten season, they didn’t get close to that kind of sleep. And there were more than a few calls and non-calls on each side for fans to complain about.
Neither Purdue coach Matt Painter nor Ohio State coach Thad Matta criticized the officials for any calls. But Painter did note that it’s commonplace for officials – especially good ones like Kitts, Sanzere and Valentine – to work brutal schedules like that.
“Sometimes they’re going to do a late Saturday night game and an early Sunday and they travel – those guys are all three veterans, they’ve been through it. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to scrutinize that.”
“I wish there was 30 to 40 guys at the level of those three. I think that’s where the issue is,” Painter told the paper.
This isn’t new. But that’s a copout answer. At some point, the conferences have to start training and using more refs – even if it means going to younger guys without as much experience.
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