I don’t know if I’ve blown out my voice booing before.
Sure, I’ve booed and hooted and hollered and generally carried on like a caged ape that’s been infected with the rage virus in a zombie movie. But last night may have been the first time I’ve driven my vocal cords directly off a cliff into a steaming pile of puberty-style voice-cracking on the sheer power of my auditory hatred for referees.
Granted, I’ve never been to see the Loch Hess Monster live and in person or I’m sure I would have probably crossed this threshold before, but last night – for lack of a better term — the referees at the Nebraska Basketball game against Minnesota were on some next level shit.
There were 43 total fouls called. Nebraska only attempted 42 shots.
There were technical fouls, questionable calls, and a group of refs whistling more than a scaffolding full of horny construction workers cat-calling at a hot woman on the sidewalk. I booed. And shouted. And checked over my shoulder to make sure the little girls behind us weren’t listening so I could quietly whisper swear words to my wife. Then we ended up shouting them anyway, reflexively, and shrugging in a hasty apology to anyone who was appalled.
I’m not sure whether these refs just enjoyed the spotlight a little too much, whether they were all graduates from the Tim Donaghy School of Officiating, or if they had all sworn a blood oath with Karl Hess that was co-signed by Lucifer himself to try to torpedo a once-beautiful game. Whatever the case, they seemed to almost relish playing the villains on Tuesday night, shouting out absurd sound effects with their technical fouls and crotch-thrusting like an air-humping Justin Bieber onstage at a concert while they were giving out blocking fouls.
Shouting out “Boom” when you’re giving a player a “T” as a ref is the auditory version of putting those plastic nutsacks on the back of your pick-up truck. You want to know who shouts out “Boom!” when they’re handing out a tech? Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun.
(*Author’s note: someone please send me a link to the crotch-thrust block call by the ref tonight. I’m begging you.)
To say that this was an ugly game would be a like calling WWII a “skirmish.” This might have been the ugly game. Here’s the box score:
Yes. I had to blur that out for content like it was the Spice Channel in 1999. Maybe if you’re a consenting adult you can contact someone and order the special version so you can look at it under the cover of darkness.
Nebraska shot a paltry 40% from the field, somehow gritting their way to a 52-49 victory, while digging in on defense and turning the game into trench warfare for the eyes. They held the Golden Gophers to just 30% from the field, an incredible number from a team that is rapidly establishing itself as an elite defense. You have to give props to Jim Molinari, Nebraska’s defensive guru.
As it turns out, he isn’t just on the sidelines to look like an Italian Deepak Chopra, he’s brought an already good defending team to an entirely new level.
It was such an ugly game that the highlight of Minnesota’s offensive game was the level of excitement by the 9-year-old girls behind me that they had a dude named “Gaston” on their team (*Author’s note: big ups to Beauty and the Beast for still being relevant in 2015, ya’ll!)
However, I’ve written at length about riding this wave of ugliness and embracing the horror that is Nebraska’s offensive game this year. When you find yourself mired in the muck you can either have a meltdown and howl in horror at how soiled your laundry has become. Or you can mud wrestle. The Huskers are wrestling. And so far, we’ve gotten a few pins.
There’s nothing new to say here, really. At this point, there isn’t an offensive Renaissance coming to pull us out the Dark Ages. We’re going to have to win ugly. We’re going to have to pull out all the stops, scrap, claw, cling with our fingernails. We’re going to need Terran to keep firing, even when they don’t drop, and we’re going to need clutch free throw shooting from guys like Benny Parker — who made 6 big FTs down the stretch to help ice the win.
I’d say “something needs to change” but I’m not sure what we can do, really. Basketball life has given us some lemons but the Nebraska Cornhuskers appear ready to squeeze the hell out of those sour fruits and I, for one, plan on adding that juice into a very strong drink and booing until my throat gives out.