Photo – USA TODAY
Whenever we get together with our buddies watching games or talking sports in general, one subject is always sure to come up – officiating. Most of the time when it’s brought up in conversation it’s an excuse. Rarely it can be a cause that decides an outcome of the game. On Saturday, all three referees – Tony Greene, Doug Sirmons, and Mark Whitehead – working the game in Lexington called a game in the 2013 Final Four. Greene made the controversial call on Trey Burke’s block of Siva in the closing minutes of the second half of the national championship. As far as Rupp Arena is concerned, you know that UK always has a decided home court advantage. Generally, talent decides ball games, not the refs, but in this rivalry game, it’s an aspect that should be discussed as well. If the first reason of Rupp’s home court advantage is UK’s talent, a close second is the friendly whistle. Sure every home team gets a call or two; it’s simply a part of the game. However, at ‘CoRuppt’ Arena, it’s a totally different ball game. Let’s take a look at the numbers….
To date, UK has shot 288 free throws in 8 home games, an average of 36 per game. UK’s opponents have attempted just 129, an average of 16. Playing Devil’s Advocate, one could say that UK’s opponents don’t bang inside enough or as much as the Cats do, thus not as many fouls were called. But still, the 20-shot disparity is nothing to ignore and leads to the constant criticism that opposing teams don’t get a fair whistle. What’s more, UK gets called for an average of 17 fouls per game; their opponents are whistled for 27.
UofL gets its fair share of the calls in their favor at the Yum! Center as well. Through UofL’s nine home games, the Cards have shot 237 foul shots, an average of 26 per game. Louisville’s opponents? They have shot an average of 15.5 (140 total) per game. Louisville sees an average of 10.5 free throws more than their opponent. However, there has been one game where the visitor got to the charity stripe more the Cards as Western Kentucky shot four more foul shots. As UofL fans, we know that the shot disparity got even slimmer once Big East play started. From the numbers alone, you can see that UK gets a robust 20-foul shot attempt advantage from their opponent, where as UofL’s is just 8.5. UofL is whistled for 17 fouls per game while their opponents are called for 20.5. Again, the difference at Rupp is worth mentioning.
For reference, last year’s game saw both teams called for 21 fouls apiece. The Cards shot 25 free throws, the Cats 23.
The next time a Cayut fan tries to downplay their home court, uh, home cooking advantage, show ’em these numbers.