This game featured an unjust free throw disparity
Following a 2014 hip replacement procedure, WVU head coach West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins began sitting on a stool during games rather than on the bench as the rest of the coaches in the nation do. Being a former physical therapy tech at Covenant Hospital during my college days, I know how painful that procedure is and I’m certain that the stool is far more comfortable for Huggins.
I’m also certain that he uses it to his advantage. Seated just inches from the sideline, he perches above the court like a gargoyle atop a cathedral.
With the officials having to run right by him every time down the court, he is able to harangue, harass, and intimidate the refs like no other coach in the game. As such, he almost always gets more than the lion’s share of the calls, especially in Morgantown where he has 14,000 sympathizers backing him.
Add to that the fact that this was the first home game since he was fined $10,000 by the Big 12 for calling the crew that officiated his team’s game at Kansas last Saturday “3 blind mice” and you can see how it was inevitable that the Red Raiders were going to get the short end of the officiating stick.
But no one imagined WVU having a 35 to 7 edge in free throw attempts. Making 23 of those shots, the home team outscored the Red Raiders by 17 points at the line.
It’s not unusual for the Mountaineers to get to the line quite often during a game. They entered Saturday having shot the most free throws in the Big 12, 23.5 per game.
Thus the 35 attempts they were awarded were a bit much but not outlandish, especially given how they fed the post all night. But what made no sense was why Tech got to the line just seven times in a game that was as physical as any you will see in the Big 12 this year.
Beard’s team had been shooting an average of 21.8 per game, second in the conference. So to think that in a game where Tech shot the ball 70 times that there were only four occasions worthy of sending the Red Raiders to the line is absurd.
Even without Terrence Shannon Jr., who leads Tech in free throw attempts on the year, unable to play because of a strained back, the Red Raiders did a representative job of driving to the rim but they almost never got the calls that they would have received had this game been played on a neutral floor.
Make no mistake, that was a huge factor in this game. Once the Mountaineers learned that they could play as aggressively as they wanted, the contest was heavily slanted in their favor.