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Friday, November 1, 2013

How College Basketball Games Are Fixed

There are several things to look for when a basketball game is not on the level. Leaving players wide open for easy shots is a telltale sign. Another obvious tipoff when a game is fixed is when players suddenly find they're unable to make a layup -- or even a dunk -- in the most important game of the season. Indiana missed a bunch of layups and even a dunk in their "loss" to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament in 2013.

Basketball is not the only sport that's fixed on a regular basis. So are football, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis and lots more. Read all about it at http://sportsfraud.blogspot.com/

Do you really think these coaches and players are so dumb that they don't realize you have to cover the opposing team's best shooters?  Watch as they give them a nice cushion and then make a belated, half-hearted attempt to get their hands up in the air as they lunge toward the shooter from a safe distance.

That's not how you play defense. You stick to your man like glue and prevent him from getting the ball. And if he does get ball, you don't stand there and watch while he launches a three-pointer. You get in his face and block the shot.

Michigan used this technique when they threw their NCAA Tournament game to Ohio University in 2012, and they did it again Feb. 2, 2014, when they allowed Yogi Ferrell to make 7 of 8 from 3-point range in their 63-52 loss to Indiana. Watch this video at the 0:50 mark to see an example of what happened in the Ohio University game. There's nobody within shouting distance of the shooter! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmbnamDRbHA


Bo Kimble, Hank Gathers, Jeff Fryer
Third-seeded Michigan also used that technique to throw an NCAA Tournament game to 11th-seeded Loyola Marymount in 1990, when Jeff Fryer made a tournament-record 11 three-point shots en route to an incredible 149-115 victory over the defending national champions. LOL! I guess the Michigan defense just forgot to show up for work that day. Watch as they deliberately leave Fryer wide open for the easy baskets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZSSkVdem_s

Less than two weeks before the start of the NCAA Tournament that year, Loyola Marymount's Hank Gathers collapsed and died during a West Coast Conference Tournament game against Portland in Los Angeles. But the Lions displayed the heart of a lion by recovering from the devastating loss to make a record-setting run in the NCAA Tournament, despite being an 11th seed -- not even a Top 40 team.

Or maybe they had some help along the way to make it a better story for college basketball.

They knocked off New Mexico State 111-92 in the first round before destroying Michigan in the second round. Then they edged Alabama 62-60 before finally losing to eventual national champion UNLV, 131-101.

Figuring all this out isn't rocket science. All Division I teams have at least one player who can consistently make three-point shots if they're left unguarded. When a game is fixed, those players are simply left wide open to score at will.

A textbook example of a basketball fix was the NCAA Tournament game between Michigan State and Louisville on March 22, 2012. Here's a four-minute highlight video that shows some of the key plays that resulted in Michigan State getting blown out 57-44 by a team they should have defeated easily: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy6k5MJ6Ic8

A lot of these highlights show the Spartans deliberately giving Louisville wide-open shots. Starting at the 1:30 mark, Draymond Green deliberately dribbles into the opposing player and then shoves him. Then we get some shots of Coach Tom Izzo and an MSU fan in meltdown mode, then there's a series of plays in which Louisville shooters are deliberately left alone to score uncontested baskets.

The most obvious example of all is probably at the 1:50 mark when No. 13 for Michigan State, Austin Thornton, intentionally leaves a Louisville player wide open in the corner for a three-point shot. Watch as he waits to play defense until he's sure the shooter has a good look at the basket, then lunges at him from a safe distance in a half-hearted attempt to make it look like he's trying to block the shot.

There's no one else in his zone. His responsibility is to guard that man in the corner. If he'd really tried, he could have easily gotten over there right away and prevented him from getting the ball or at least gotten a hand in his face as he tried to score. Instead, he just stood there and watched.

The better teams in college basketball shoot around 50 percent from the field in most of their games. Occasionally they might shoot over 60 percent, but if their shooting percentage drops below 40, I start to get suspicious.

I understand that players miss about 50 to 60 percent of their shots in a normal game, but they shouldn't fail to hit the rim on a layup, and they shouldn't shoot 25 percent from the field, especially on layups! Yet that's exactly what happened when Michigan State threw the Louisville game in last year's tournament. I'm talking about "layups" that bounced off the backboard with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop.

Not to mention all the air balls and shots that were way off the mark. All this in the biggest game of the season? It doesn't add up, people, and when that happens, it's time to start asking some questions.

Check out these stats that were posted on TV during the first half. 2-Point Field Goals: Louisville 1 for 11, MSU 2 for 10. In other words, two Sweet 16 teams combined to shoot 3 for 21 from 2-point range at the start of the biggest game of the season. That's 14.3 percent. LOL! Are we really supposed to believe that?

That game has to rank as one of the most obvious fixes in NCAA Tournament history, and believe me, that's saying a lot, because the competition is so fierce. See this post for more on the fixing of the 2013 NCAA Tournament: http://sportsfraud.blogspot.com/2013/04/an-upset-is-not-upset-when-other-team.html

The most obvious fix of the 2012-13 season was when Michigan lost to winless (0-14) Penn State on Feb. 27, 2013, with the Big Ten championship on the line. And keep in mind, all five starters on that Michigan team are now playing in the NBA, as of April 2015.

LOL! You'd have to be pretty naive to believe that game was on the level.

After losing its first 14 games of the Big Ten season, Penn State won that game 84-78 on the strength of 10-for-20 (50 percent) shooting from 3-point range. The Nittany Lions outscored Michigan 30-15 from the 3-point line, since the Wolverines could manage to make just 5 for 20 (25 percent). The reason for the mismatch was the Michigan defense deliberately leaving Penn State players wide open beyond the 3-point line, and then the offense missing a bunch of 3-pointers on purpose.

The Wolverines also committed 15 turnovers, an unusually high number for a team that usually made fewer than 10 in a game. And this was against the slowest and least athletic team in the Big Ten, when a win could have meant staying in the race for the conference championship. Think about it -- it doesn't add up!

Speaking of fixed games, the 2014 tournament was plagued by dozens of them. Some of the most obvious include Duke's opening-round loss to Mercer, which was then trounced by 10th-seeded Tennessee; and Michigan State and Florida both getting blown out by lowly Connecticut -- not even a Top 25 team. And then Connecticut knocking off Kentucky in the championship game when the Wildcats missed all those free throws on purpose. What a fraud!

Other signs to watch for when the fix is in include an attack of uncharacteristically egregious "mental lapses," failure to make obvious strategy adjustments, failure to get back on defense on the fast break, crooked officiating, deliberately missed shots and unforced turnovers, failure to box out on the boards, failure to hustle after loose balls, dribbling into traffic and the list goes on.

Another commonly used method of fixing a game is to have one team miss a ton of free throws. Butler went 10-19 from the foul line in their "loss" to Xavier in the Big East Tournament in 2015, and Kentucky missed a ton of free throws when they threw the NCAA Championship Game to Connecticut in 2014.

All this in the biggest games of the season? It doesn't add up!

Not every game is fixed, and when a game is fixed, not every play is fixed, and not every player is necessarily participating in the scam. It takes only a few key plays to turn a game around. Obviously the games need some credibility, so there might be just a few key players involved, perhaps even just one, especially if it involves point-shaving in which the favorite still wins but doesn't cover the spread. Other times, just about the entire team participates.

When Michigan threw the Michigan State game in East Lansing on Feb. 12, 2013, Tim Hardaway Jr. went 1 for 11 from the field, including 0 for 5 from three-point range. A truly pathetic display of shooting, especially for someone who's usually around 50 percent or better when he's not actually trying to miss. I can remember lots of games in his career when he shot something like 7 for 11 or 8 for 10.

I'm not saying Michigan State didn't have a good team. Even if both teams had been allowed to give it 100 percent, they might still have won that game. But they wouldn't have won 75-52, I can guarantee that.

Another telltale sign that game was fixed was the turnover column, where Michigan racked up 16 -- about twice their usual number. Michigan was an exceptionally good ball-handling team when it wasn't throwing a game last season. There were lots of games when the Wolverines had fewer than 10 turnovers, and there's no reason why that Michigan State game should have been any different.

Michigan had only seven turnovers in the rematch in Ann Arbor, which they won despite going 0 for 12 from three-point range -- another highly suspicious figure for a team that was consistently in the range of 30 to 50 percent on three-point attempts.

College basketball has been marred by point-shaving scandals before, but they were usually isolated incidents. Now it's worse than ever, and the news media refuse to investigate it.

Probably the most famous point-shaving scandal of all was the 1951-52 affair, when players from Kentucky, Bradley and several other schools were charged with criminal activity. Some of them were even sentenced to jail terms for their involvement in the various scandals. See this: http://espn.go.com/classic/s/basketball_scandals_explosion.html

In the summer of 2012, three men pleaded guilty in connection with the point-shaving scandal at the University of San Diego. See this: http://www.examiner.com/article/three-plead-guilty-university-of-san-diego-basketball-game-fixing-scandal

And Auburn point guard Varez Ward was investigated by the FBI for alleged point-shaving last season. See this: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/7662296/fbi-investigating-auburn-tigers-varez-ward-point-shaving-according-report

These isolated cases are just the tip of the iceberg, though. They usually involve just a few players and gamblers. What's going on today is far worse, because it's systemic.

And basketball isn't the only sport embroiled in controversy. A gigantic scandal is raging in Europe right now over the fixing of soccer matches. And there's also widespread corruption in the PGA and the LPGA. Golfers give away strokes all the time by deliberately missing easy putts, hitting their tee shots into the woods and so on. Brandt Snedeker gave away the Masters tournament on April 14, 2013.

Lots of times when a golfer misses a putt on purpose or intentionally hits a wretched shot, he'll rub his nose or touch his face afterward. That's a well-known Masonic gesture used as a signal to tip off other Freemasons when the fix is in.

And women's professional tennis has been dominated for years by two men -- Serena and Venus Williams . See this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwrP1zHC5Eo&index=3&list=FLZ3TfW19LqoDqVyZ4XHfCJQ