The Pac-12 doesn’t track these types of things, but the league has already issued three reprimands to men’s basketball coaches for criticizing officials, which has to be some sort of conference record.
The only thing more surprising than the frequency of reprimands is Arizona State’s combustible Bobby Hurley has somehow managed to keep his cool and avoid a public rebuke.
Still, it’s worth a quick review on what will draw the ire of Commissioner Larry Scott.
Following UCLA’s 74-64 defeat to North Carolina in December, the Pac-12’s etiquette police popped new Bruins coach Mick Cronin for telling the Los Angeles Times: “In defense of my players, I thought that the officials took the first half off. … North Carolina won, so don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. The game was officiated two separate halves. All you got to do is look at the fouls per half.”
Cronin cut his teeth at Cincinnati in the Big East, so maybe the 48-year-old Ohio native didn’t know the Pac-12 is somewhat sensitive when it comes to its officiating.
Washington State’s Kyle Smith, another Pac-12 newbie, made the folks at the league’s San Francisco headquarters uncomfortable earlier this month with his assessment of a confrontation between WSU’s Noah Williams and USC’s Nick Rakocevic.
The two players wrestled for a loose ball and Smith felt the officials should have intervened before Rakocevic drove Williams into a stanchion.
“I thought it was kind of a punk move by Rakocevic,” Smith said during his weekly interview days after WSU’s 65-56 loss. “He just kept driving him into the thing. I think it was terribly officiated. I don’t know. Do I get fined for that? Probably.”
Not a fine, but the rookie mistake put the 50-year-old Smith on Scott’s naughty list.
And last week, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak became the latest to step afoul of the conference’s code of conduct.
While attempting to explain his ejection with 1:23 left from an 83-64 loss to Arizona State, Krystkowiak expressed confusion as to why freshman center Matt Van Komen received a technical foul after his dunk in traffic.
“Well, I saw a 7-foot-4 guy dunk the ball and somebody is underneath him, and you’re allowed to hang on the rim,” Krystkowiak said in postgame comments. “That’s all I got. It just wasn’t the proper call to make at that time, and I had no problem with the officiating.
“I like all those guys, but I thought that was BS at the end.”
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
Apparently, coaches can’t say “BS.” Not even when they precede it with “I like all of those guys.”
Following each reprimand, Scott issued a statement that read: “The Pac-12 membership has established rules that prohibit our coaches from publicly commenting about officiating. We have an obligation to our members to enforce approved Conference rules. As a part of our officiating program, there is a protocol in place for our coaches to provide feedback directly to the coordinator of officials.”
It should be noted the Pac-12 doesn’t really “prohibit coaches from publicly commenting about officiating.”
More accurately, the Pac-12 prohibits coaches from publicly criticizing officiating.
If you do it once, then the league gives you a warning.
Do it again, and you’re subject to a $10,000 fine like the one Hurley paid in 2018 stemming from a postgame tirade with officials as they walked off the court.
After a third infraction, Scott has the authority to dole out a suspension, which would be unprecedented in men’s basketball.
So be warned Krystkowiak, Smith and Cronin.
Quit badmouthing and bellyaching those blown calls and leave bashing #Pac12refs to the experts.
Now, on to this week’s Pac-12 Power Rankings.
WEEK 4 Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. Oregon (Previous ranking: 1) (15-3, 4-2): With four assists, Payton Pritchard becomes the first Pac-12 player with 1,500 career points, 600 career assists and 500 career rebounds. This week: Against USC and UCLA.
2. USC (Previous ranking: 8) (15-3, 4-1): Big jump for the Trojans since their 72-40 beatdown at Washington three weeks ago. We’ll find out how good USC is over the next three weeks with games at No. 12 Oregon, against No. 23 Colorado and at No. 22 Arizona. This week: At Oregon and Oregon State.
3. Stanford (Previous ranking: 3) (15-3, 4-1): Can’t shake the feeling that the Cardinal has benefitted from a soft schedule. But Stanford’s only defeats are a four-point setback at USC and losses to No. 3 Kansas and No. 13 Butler. This week: At California.
4. Arizona (Previous ranking: 2) (13-5, 3-2): Before sweeping Utah and Colorado by a combined 37 points, the Wildcats were 2-5 in the previous seven games and seemingly plunging into the abyss. This week: At Arizona State.
5. Colorado (Previous ranking: 4) (14-4, 3-2): Normally a road split in Arizona is considered a good thing, but the Buffaloes look susceptible on the road. This week: Against Washington State and Washington.
6. Washington State (Previous ranking: 9) (12-7, 3-3): Last week’s upset wins gave the Cougars their first sweep over the Oregon schools since January 2011 and first home Pac-12 sweep since 2013. If only Klay Thompson and Steph Curry could show up to every game. This week: At Colorado and Utah.
7. Arizona State (Previous ranking: 11) (11-7, 2-3): The Sun Devils are 0-3 against ranked Pac-12 teams, which doesn’t bode well heading into Saturday’s game against No. 22 Arizona. This week: Against Arizona.
8. Washington (Previous ranking: 5) (12-7, 2-4): Probably a little too high in the rankings for a team that’s tied for 11th in the conference standings. The Huskies better learn how to finish games. This week: At Utah and Colorado.
9. Utah (Previous ranking: 9) (10-7, 1-4): We knew it would be a tough start for the Utes with games against Oregon, Colorado and Arizona, but the schedule is favorable for the rest of the way. This week: Against UW and WSU.
10. Oregon State (Previous ranking: 7) (12-6, 2-4): The Beavers are good enough to post impressive wins against Colorado and Arizona. And yet, OSU has four losses against teams in the bottom half of the conference standings. This week: Against UCLA and USC.
11. UCLA (Previous ranking: 11) (9-9, 2-3): The Bruins are 2-6 in their last eight games. Last week’s win over California was the first victory at Pauley Pavilion in 42 days, after previously dropping contests to Stanford, USC and Cal State Fullerton. This week: At OSU and Oregon.
12. California (Previous ranking: 12) (8-10, 2-3): Since sweeping UW and WSU two weeks ago, the Golden Bears lost by 32 at USC and managed just 40 points — the fewest this season by a Pac-12 team — at UCLA. This week: Against Stanford.