Texas defeated Baylor 76-71 on Monday in a battle between two of college basketball’s best teams. But coming out of that game, several fans were left buzzing over someone not affiliated with either team — but referee John Higgins.
During the game, ESPN posted a graphic of Higgins’ incredibly busy schedule over the week leading up to Monday’s showdown between the Bears and Longhorns.
On Tuesday, January 24, Higgins officiated a game between Penn State and Rutgers. One day later, Higgins was on the other coast, working San Diego State’s home win over Utah State. On Thursday, he was in the Pacific Northwest, officiating Utah’s road victory over Oregon State. After a day off on Friday, Higgins was in the Bay Area on Saturday, working Stanford’s home win over Cal. On Sunday, he was in Indiana, officiating Purdue’s win over Michigan State. Then on Monday, Higgins was in Austin.
Matt Norlander of CBS Sports shared the graphic.
I understand Higgins works this kind of schedule because—at the end of the day—coaches want the best refs working their games. Fans can disagree, but he’s viewed/graded highly across the board.
And yet: this travel sked isn’t conducive to optimal results. Shouldn’t be happening. pic.twitter.com/QEXD4uZrH0
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) January 31, 2023
That’s six games in five different states. New Jersey and San Diego are on opposite sides of the country from each other. Two games were in California, but there was a game in another state between them. Every game was in a city more than 1,000 miles apart from the previous one, with the only exception (Stanford after Oregon State) also being the only pair of games that had a day off in between them. And as Bill DiFilippo of Uproxx Sports detailed, the schedule is even more hectic than that.
the stanford game tipped at 10 pm ET on saturday and the purdue game tipped at 12:15 pm ET on sunday this probably shouldn't be allowed https://t.co/9oNq93FcRd
— Bill DiFilippo (@billdifilippo) January 31, 2023
Basketball fans had a lot to say about Higgins’ wild, circuitous route around the United States.
Hardest working man in CBB https://t.co/0194ILdE18
— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) January 31, 2023
That is a BRUTAL travel schedule https://t.co/CkjqJG1AdB
— House of College Hoops (@CollegeHoopsHE) January 31, 2023
I hope he’s using Friday night to order some Arbys and catch up on a the Last Of Us https://t.co/v1tfQsQFNa
— Bennie Mac – Air Fryer PhD (@BenMcC1908) January 31, 2023
he'll have skymiles diamond medallion status wrapped up by march https://t.co/w3TQHAoPdm
— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) January 31, 2023
Look at this unreal travel schedule for a college basketball official. This isn't ideal for anyone. https://t.co/WQ6QtDZo7O
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) January 31, 2023
Certainly, that’s a wild travel schedule. We can only hope that Higgins’ next week is less frenetic than his last one.
[Matt Norlander, Bill DiFilippo, Photo Credit: ESPN]