November 27, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; NCAA referee Ted Valentine reacts during the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Wolverines Should be Grateful for Referee Ted Valentine

Ted Valentine is Michigan’s dream official.

Affable, transparent and, above all, favorable to the Wolverines, the veteran referee has been a good luck charm for the home team in Ann Arbor since becoming a Big Ten mainstay. Call him Michigan’s Valentine for his generosity to the maize n blue.

In Michigan home games Valentine has officiated this season, the Wolverines have been whistled for an average of nine fewer fouls per contest than their opponents, this despite the team ranking fourth in the Big Ten in percentage of shots taken from behind the arc. The +9 foul advantage Michigan holds in games overseen by Valentine crews is the largest held by any Big Ten member with one common official.

John Beilein’s team is vulnerable on the boards and in the interior of its defense, but those deficiencies tend to be nullified when Valentine is blowing the whistle. In all, Michigan has been called for only 11.3 fouls per game in contests officiated by Teddy V, down almost two full fouls from their average in all other games. Yes, the Wolverines don’t foul a lot in the first place. They are the third best team in the nation at limiting fouls. But when Mr. Valentine is on the job, Michigan becomes quasi angelic.

Sunday’s rematch with in-state rival Michigan State was par for the course. Although the Wolverines were waved for more fouls (17) than Sparty (15), Valentine did his part in preserving the Michigan mystique with him in the house.

He turned a blind eye to hand checks happening right under his nose.

He bought every flop the Wolverines tried to sell.

Yet somehow, he didn’t buy this:

Valentine’s gullibility on a pair of obvious dives by Wolverines big men served the purpose of an imaginary seal around the paint — approximating the value of a sixth, seventh and eighth Michigan defender. Michigan State shied away from its physical advantage inside lest the Spartans pick up another offensive foul on a bogus call. And so the pendulum of Sunday’s showdown swung in the other direction.

Teddy V didn’t just fumble a few calls. He altered the tenor of the game, even changed the way Tom Izzo’s group approached its offensive sets. When Michigan State fell into a dire slump to start the second half, Mr. Valentine himself was front and center. Not by chance, either.

By all testimonials from coaches, players and those who know him personally, Teddy Valentine is a good man who cherishes his job and grasps the magnitude of his responsibilities. Of course, some of that positive feedback can be traced back to Ann Arbor, where Valentine ought to be embraced as a hometown favorite.

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Tags: Basketball Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines

  • William Plaster

    One would think if this is the case, the supervisor of officials notices his favoritism(?) and would respond appropriately.

  • daving313

    Weird, not a single mention of the fact Michigan State had 18 turnovers – but let me guess, that was the refs fault too.

  • Mark Wilson

    This article is hilarious. You invalidated your entire analysis by correctly stating that Michigan was whistled for more fouls than MSU was….IN ANN ARBOR. How often does the home team get called for more fouls in the Big Ten? How exactly was Valentine a factor? Consider:

    7 of the last 9 fouls in the game were called on Michigan.

    Payne got away with an obvious walk late in the game on the play where Morgan was instead called for a phantom 5th foul.

    McGary allegedly dribbled the ball out of bounds late, replays appear to show the call was not correct.

    Burke was routinely mugged on dribble drives, and was bear-hugged on the inbounds play that was thrown to McGary late (who conveniently missed the front end of the 1-and-1.)

    Other than your picture of what would be one missed call (go figure, calls get missed sometimes) you offer nothing of substance to support your argument other than your OPINION that the charging calls were incorrect, which is weak.

  • Tiffany Big Blue

    Such a Homer article!!! Just face it they lost!!!

  • jplaunt

    true that

  • Efrain Cannon

    You got to me kidding me, Michigan was the once getting the bad calls, America all saw the way the officals let MSU back in the game. Please, dont be so one sided dude!

  • John Stobinski

    Whenever I watch a Spartans game and I see that Valentine is the Ref I cringe because I know that the calls will go against State. I couldn’t believe how he could ignore some of the obvious fouls made by um players.