Niagara Gazette

Z_CNHI News Service

November 5, 2013

Changes to NCAA foul rules could lead to free-throw marathons

I attended a Big Ten basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., a few years ago where I was seated so close to the floor that I had to keep my feet pinned under my chair so I wouldn’t trip the referee as he raced up and down the court. The view from courtside left me with one shocking reaction: I no longer had any idea what was a foul.

There was banging, pushing, shoving, probably even tripping, but nary a whistle was blown by the officials. The disclaimer of “no-harm, no-foul” was truly enforced.  

Now as another basketball season begins to unfold this week, could all of that be about to change? This year we are being told to expect something much different from the game’s three-man officiating crews. A new no-hand check rule will be introduced and fouls will also be called on defenders who body-bump offensive players on their way to the hoop.

The idea behind these rule changes is to increase scoring and reduce the grind-it-out, rough-house style of play that had come to dominate in the major conferences. 

But that might not be the case. Instead of high-scoring, fast-breaking action, fans could just as easily be fed a diet of games where players repeatedly spend time on the free-throw line trying their hand at one-and-the bonus.

If games become a free-throw marathon, it could easily stretch them out another 20 minutes or more, causing interest and excitement to wane.

Some coaches think that the changes could re-introduce pure athleticism to the game. If so, that would be good for the 2013-14 season. There’s a wealth of talented freshmen coming into the college game this year. That would be especially true at Kentucky and Kansas.

John Calipari is expected to start four freshmen, but this will be anything but a rebuilding year. He’s even talking about the possibility of going 40-0 and winning another national championship. Undefeated might be a stretch – it hasn’t happened since 1976 -- but hanging another banner in Rupp Arena is a real possibility. 

UK will showcase Julius Randle, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound center, who averaged more than 32 points and 22 rebounds a game last year. He’ll be joined by six other McDonald’s All-Americans on the UK roster, which includes two returning starters. Finding enough minutes to keep everyone happy might be Calipari’s biggest challenge.

ESPN’s Chad Ford thinks seven Kentucky players could be taken in the first round of next spring’s NBA draft. Talk about depth.

The story is much the same at Kansas. Coach Bill Self persuaded three of the nation’s top recruits to come to Lawrence.  No player in America is rated higher than Andrew Wiggins, a 6-8 forward, who has been compared to LeBron James, the Ohio native who turned pro out of high school. Guard Wayne Selden and 7-0 center Joel Embiid, a native of Cameroon, make one wonder how Kansas could lose many games.

As much talk as there is about Kentucky, the Cats might not even be the best team in the state. In Louisville, many believe the Cardinals stand a good chance of defending their national championship. What distinguishes this team from others is that it is set to start two seniors and two juniors. 

Michigan State is also deep and talented. Coach Tom Izzo’s Spartans return four starters, including standout guards Keith Appling and Gary Harris. Plenty of other teams – such as Arizona, Michigan, Florida and Duke -- could fall into a long list of other legitimate NCAA favorites.

Offensive firepower will be plentiful this season. That said, what’s likely to determine next year’s NCAA champ is what team learns to play the best defense, especially if officials stick with their hands off, no touching approach to calling the game. 

Tom Lindley is a sports columnist for the CNHI News Service. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page