Will rivalry games be closely monitored?

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
2:38
PM ET
Cincinnati-Xavier was a crosstown rivalry game gone bad, with Bearcats coach Mick Cronin continuing to take aim at the referees for not doing more to stop the hostilities before they escalated into the brawl that has become the talk of college basketball and a national headline.

"If guys run their mouth, there should be technicals," Cronin told Andy Katz. "I was begging guys to call T's. They never did. That was a problem."

Will the ugly images from the incident on Saturday change the way referees do their jobs? Already, at least one coach has game planned around it.

UTEP coach Tim Floyd expected referees to set the tone early for the Miners' rivalry game against New Mexico State on Sunday, so that was apparently one reason he threw a different kind of defense at Aggies leading scorer Wendell McKines.

"Based on what happened in the Cincinnati-Xavier game, it was going to be a closely called game and we wanted to start box and 1 thinking we wouldn't foul as much," Floyd told Las Cruces Sun-News beat writer Jason Groves.

McKines, who had ridiculed UTEP last month on Twitter following a Miners exhibition game loss, had a relatively quiet game as he was held to four points as New Mexico State lost by four.

After what occurred Saturday, any incident of fighting in college basketball will be magnified. Cronin on Monday again mentioned the referees played a role in what took place. It's only natural they respond by staying vigilant -- rivalry game or not -- and helping all sides involved keep their emotions in check.

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