Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Bo Ryan didn’t think too highly of the officiating in the national championship game Monday, which Duke won, 68-63, over Wisconsin.
As it turns out, that trio wasn’t alone.
“I agree, they didn’t do a real good job the whole tournament,” CBS Sports Network college basketball analyst Pete Gillen said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think the semifinal between Wisconsin and Kentucky (had) shaky (officiating). Coaches were on the court (complaining). It looked like they were playing defense on the officials. So yeah, it was not consistent. It’s a tough thing to do. Officiating’s a very tough job because players are so big and so athletic, but I think it was a sub-par performance by the officials.”
Ryan ripped the zebras after the game, saying the level of physicality was starkly different from what Wisconsin was used to all season. The calls also seemed a tad inconsistent; the Badgers were whistled for 13 fouls in the second half after being whistled for just two in the first half.
“Each game is a whole separate entity,” Gillen said. “Sometimes it’s really physical, you can’t believe it. Sometimes they let a lot go. So it was real physical, no question about it. But Wisconsin is one the most physical teams in the country. They bang you. They whack you. So I love Bo. He’s a friend of mine. But I think it was more (Justise) Winslow – the (play where the) ball (went) off his finger tips. I saw that at home. The ball (changed) directions slightly. You see it’s off his fingertips. And I agree, Winslow stepped out of bounds (on another play). Those things you got to (call). These are great officials, but unfortunately they didn’t have a real good evening.”
And yet, the enduring takeaway from this game will not be the officials, but rather, Mike Krzyzewski winning his fifth national title. He trails only John Wooden for the most titles all time (10).
“He’s done an unbelievable job,” Gillen said of Coach K. “To have four freshmen play such a big role is amazing. What he does is, he’s a terrific X and O guy. But more importantly, he’s a tremendous communicator. So instead of going out and working with a kid 45 minutes on his jump shot, he’ll bring him into his office and talk to him for 45 minutes about leadership, about intensity, about commitment, about communicating with your other players. He’s phenomenal at communicating with his team, bonding with his leaders on the team and having them coach the other players and reinforce what he says. So he’s the great communicator. He has unbelievable talent, but he communicates with them and he gets them to play.
“So he’s certainly one of the great coaches of all time,” Gillen continued. “He’s right up there with John Wooden. Maybe an eyelash behind him. I think, quite frankly, it’s tougher to do what he did in this era where there’s so many good teams, so many foreign players. He’s right up there – just an eyelash behind John Wooden.”
With Duke likely losing at least four starters, the Blue Devils are long-shots to win it all again next season. Only they’re not. Because they’re Duke.
“They don’t recruit,” Gillen said. “They select.”