Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 15, 2013

Next time you watch a game, keep an eye on the sidelines. Watch the coaches jaw with the referees, calling them over and talking to them about a call or non-call. In the coaching biz, it?s called ?working the officials,? and the Big Ten has some coaches who are masters at it.

As part of my ongoing series of casual Big Ten Surveys, I asked seven writers who cover the Big Ten which coaches they feel work the officials the best. Wisconsin?s Bo Ryan was the selection of five writers.

Michigan State?s Tom Izzo and Indiana?s Tom Crean were the top pick of two others writers. Several others were mentioned, including Iowa?s Fran McCaffery, Ohio State?s Thad Matta and Purdue?s Matt Painter.

Here is what the writers had to say:

  • Minnesota writer: Bo Ryan is No. 1. Why do you think it's so hard to win at Kohl Center?
  • Purdue writer: Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Tom Crean are the top three, I'd say, but Fran McCaffery is up there, too.
  • Ohio State writer: Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo. After that, maybe Matt Painter or Fran McCaffery.
  • Illinois writer: Tom Izzo (by far). Then, Bo Ryan. I witnessed several overturned calls because of him. Third is Tom Crean because of the banners above his head.
  • Iowa writer: Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Thad Matta are my top three. With age comes a little leeway with officials. Bo leads the league in leeway.
  • Michigan writer: Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Matt Painter are the three that come to mind.
  • Michigan State writer: Izzo and Ryan work them hardest. I think Crean works them best.
About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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