Original Email Reply from Popster:
"OK. Sounds to me like you/re setting up Georgia Tech for foul troubles
and blaming it on Carolina. I really don't think refs have any
prejudices. They call them as they see them."
My immediate thoughts:
1. Tech is a big, physical team, with a 9 man rotation, so I am not surprised that we foul more. As part of my study, I will analyze Tech separately, to see if we generally outfoul our opponents.
2. I have heard enough people complain about ACC refs favoring UNC/Duke over the years, that I wonder if we can make a statistical argument for validity.
Finally, there was much ado made here in SEC country this season about calls going for Alabama and Florida, two schools the SEC clearly had an interest in keeping in the national title hunt until the very end.
People in the ACC have always complained that Duke and UNC get a better shake from the refs than do other ACC schools. I'd like to look at some quantifiable statistics and see, which was precipitated by watching the Tech/UNC game and clearly seeing a couple of questionable calls go to UNC, many more fouls (until the last couple of minutes, when UNC was playing to foul and get back in the game) called for UNC, and several questionable no calls. Interestingly, most of these observations occurred in the last 10 minutes, when Carolina was feverishly coming back. A little assist from the refs?
I'm not calling it a conspiracy exactly, but I wouldn't be surprised if:
1. The ACC front office has a different "standard" for fouls for UNC and Duke
2. The officials aren't somewhat intimidated by Coach K and Roy Williams.
I enjoy doing these statistical analyses, so I'll look deeper after the ACC season has progressed and both UNC and Duke have had a chance to play some ACC games against decent opponents.
I think we're going to find that losing teams foul more. But, if we find that UNC and Duke, in losing efforts, foul less than the average loser, I think we're onto something.
So, here are my hypotheses:
1. Losing teams commit more PF's and shoot less FT's than winning teams (I think this is mostly proven already and is intuitively obvious).
2. Carolina and Duke, in losing efforts, see their opponents commit more fouls, and they themselves, get more FTA's than the average loser. If this pans out, then we can say there is a Carolina/Duke bias in ACC officiating.
I'll need some way to quantify this, which I will probably use a ratio of Loser FTAs vs. Winner FTA's and Loser PF's vs. Winner PF's. I will only analyze ACC games and games against top 40 competition (to give a larger sample size), and all losses for UNC and Duke.
We'll see. It'll be fun.