Big 12 News

Josh Eilert Implies Kansas State Was Given Friendly Calls Due to Bubble Status

Feb 26, 2024; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers interim head coach Josh Eilert listens to an official during overtime against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia head coach Josh Eilert became the most recent Big 12 coach to criticize officiating in the league, mentioning that Kansas State received a friendly whistle because of their NCAA Tournament bubble status.

With Kansas State narrowly defeating West Virginia 94-90 in overtime, Eilert believed that the officiating crew gave the Wildcats some of the 50/50 calls down the stretch due to their late push to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

 

“We couldn’t get a whistle, and I feel like that’s going to be a recurring theme when you play a team on the bubble in this league,” Eilert said.

While the theory behind Eilert’s reasoning somewhat makes sense, the box score did not help his argument. West Virginia was called for just three more fouls than Kansas State, 25-22, and finished the day with 26 free throw attempts. Kansas State made good on 25-35 (71.4%) attempts from the charity stripe while the Mountaineers shot just 65.4% from the line as a team (17-26).

Kansas State added a multitude of game-changing stats that tipped the scale in the home-teams favor including outrebounding WVU 48-41, shooting 48.4% from three, and shooting just under 46% from the field.

While Josh Eilert is the first head coach to criticize officiating in the Big 12 Conference, he is the first coach this season to use a team’s NCAA Tournament path as justification. Kansas State continues their quest towards the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 2nd, against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

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