It's often been said about the higher seeded teams in the tournament that they have to be 10 points better than their highly favored opponent.
Yesterday in a first-round game in Providence, 15-seeded Robert Morris must have had to be 20 points better than Villanova because the refs absolutely called two different games for the two teams.
In my opinion the motive is to protect the ratings. Let's face it, the average fan probably isn't going to watch Robert Morris take on St. Mary's, which also won yesterday.
It was obvious that the refs were calling a lopsided game in the final minutes of the game to give Villanova the edge it needed to avoid the catastrophic upset.
Everytime Scottie Reynolds drove inside the lane he was awarded a trip to the free throw line. He ended up going 15 of 16 from the free throw line. As a team Robert Morris only shot 26 free throws compared to Villanova's 40 attempts.
On the flip side, Robert Morris began to be forced into more and more turnovers on their end of the court because the officials were letting Villanova be way more aggressive. There's nothing wrong with officials calling a game one way or another, but be consistent with the kind of game you call for both teams.
It all comes down to sports becoming more and more about the money and less about the young men, and women, or play these college sports. Sadly the dollar sign is becoming the most important factor, and if that means the refs are going to do everything possible to make sure Villanova meets Duke in the Elite Eight then so be it.
There were a few big upsets the refs couldn't take out of the hands of the higher seeded team. Both 13-seeded Murray St. and 14-seeded Ohio got well deserved wins. It was actually a record setting day for wins by double digit seeded teams to win on day one of the tournament, so that's good news to hear.
My heart still goes out to the players of Robert Morris because they deserved to win that game, but instead of playing on an even playing field they had to be 15-20 points better.