Belated congratulations to Georgetown's John Thompson, the 1988 U.S. Olympic team coach, who obviously is already pumped up for the serious international red tape awaiting our troops in South Korea. Even before his Hoyas tattooed Arizona between the lines 82-74 in Landover on Saturday, Big Bad J had embarrassed Arizona State on the bottom line, i.e., he held the Sun Devils to a contract they couldn't fulfill and canceled their scheduled Dec. 9 game in Tempe.
That flap occurred because the schools had executed a contract last winter calling for neutral game officials—that is, none from either the Big East or Pac-10. Since then, however, the Pac-10 has instituted a rule requiring that only Pac-10 refs work Pac-10 home games. Billy ("I'm not smart enough to know where the 3-point line should be") Packer reported on CBS that Thompson didn't know about the new ref rule, but insiders say the Hoya coach did know and that ASU officials told him they could get the Pac-10 to waive it. Well, ASU couldn't. Which left Thompson with a couple of options. He could let everybody off the hook, be a great human being and play the game with Pac-10 refs. Or.... Nah. But, hey, do we want some lily-livered, pussyfootin', nice guy holding off the vicious foreign peril come Seoul time?
Cynics suggested that Georgetown may have been as concerned about the small advance sale (only 6,000 tickets sold for the 14,287-seat University Activity Center) as it was about the referees. In any case, Arizona coach Lute Olson, having seen his neighbors at ASU stiffed, announced that his team would not travel east for Saturday's game until he was assured the Hoyas would make the contracted return trip to Tucson in 1988. Then CBS threw some muscle in. (Packer did not report that.) Ultimately Big East commissioner Dave Gavitt and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen interceded and ruled that Big Eight officials (neutrals) would work the Georgetown-Arizona game in Landover. Pac-10 officials will ref the '88 game in Tucson.
What is this? My referee can beat your referee? In refusing to play at Tempe, was Georgetown implying that Pac-10 officials are crooked? By insisting its officials must work member schools' home games, is the Pac-10 implying that its crews protect the home teams?
It's time for the NCAA to create a national referees' pool and make everybody play with the zebras that are dealt them.
Update on Louisville's defending national chumpions: Eyeing Pervis Ellison, who had missed the Ville's 98-86 victory over Eastern Kentucky, fellow sophomore Kevin Walls, the guard who had just returned from an aching Achilles tendon, cracked, "We're 0-3 with you, and we're 1-0 with me." After Walls almost kicked away a turn-the-corner 60-58 road victory at Western Kentucky, the Cards suffered a traumatic back-around-the-bend 75-68 home loss to De-Paul. Not counting a Dec. 3 defeat to Athletes in Action, Louisville's Athletes Inaction have amassed a 3-4 record.
WAITING FOR TITO
Miami's Tito Horford will be eligible to play on Dec. 20, and the Hurricanes have gotten restless while waiting for him. On Nov. 30 freshman forward Lemuel Howard asked sophomore guard Kevin Presto if he could borrow Presto's Mazda B210 to go to the store with a couple of teammates. Five hours later they still had not returned. "We went somewhere else, and I just forgot to call," Howard said later. "Which was unfortunate." Right. On his return Howard, 6'6", 185 pounds, was attacked by Presto, 5'11", 175, who began choking him. Eventually Howard punched Presto in the face, knocking out three teeth, which had to be surgically implanted that night. As long as Presto had to sit out, Hurricane coach Bill Foster decided, Howard would sit out, too. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. As it turned out, neither player had to sit out at all. Six days after the incident Miami was drilled by North Carolina 122-77. Too bad the Canes weren't playing Colgate.
TASTES GREAT LESS FILLING
Because...the Decays are 0-24 over the past 12 months, including a recent jaw-breaking defeat to Franklin & Marshall in which Colgate led 71-69 with :06 left. That should have been enough even if both Franklin and Marshall showed up. But as F & M scored to tie the game as the clock died, two Colgate players shouted "Time's out," hoping the ref would disallow the goal. Colgate's Jim Biegalski, thinking his teammates wanted a timeout, requested one from another ref. Colgate had none left: technical foul. F & M made a free throw to win 72-71. The fight against cavities continues.