Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Eron Harris scored a game-high 31 points during WVU’s 89-70 exhibition win over Fairmont State on Monday night.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Quite a discussion piece, these college basketball rules revisions that outlaw hand-checking and make charges rarer than eclipses.

Even within the same West Virginia locker room, reaction has been polarized to the freedom-of-movement emphasis that aims to increase scoring and, throughout the preseason, has increased foul calls exponentially.

Slashing guard Eron Harris welcomed the changes. Rough-and-rugged forward Kevin Noreen wasn’t a fan.

How will the crackdown on defensive contact impact the regular season? Teams begin finding out tonight as seasons tip off across the nation, including the West Virginia-Mount St. Mary’s game at the Coliseum.

Season opener: Mount St. Mary’s (0-0) at West Virginia (0-0)
Tip-off time: 8 p.m.  TV: Local cable

In WVU’s exhibition against Fairmont State on Monday night, some 63 fouls led to 83 free throws. After the game stretched to nearly two-and-a-half hours, both coaches lamented the frequent stoppages and the, at times, incidental contact that drew whistles.

“I feel bad for the officials, and I never thought I’d say that,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “I can’t believe that just came out of my mouth.”

But Huggins understands officials are being mandated to call touch fouls—both on the ball and off—which threatens to have teams digging deep into their benches as players get into foul trouble.

Harris is looking forward to shooting more free throws, like the 20 he attempted in the exhibition.

“Now the people with skill are going to excel more than the big brutes who get to bang you and stop you from scoring just because they’re so big,” he said.

“The game wasn’t made for big humongous guys, or people who were stronger than other people. It was made for people with more skill.”

Just a few feet away sat Noreen, who aligns more with the lovable brutes. Though he’s 6-foot-10, the junior doesn’t have the hops to be isn’t a rim protector so he became adept at taking charges near the basket. Now, with defenders needing to be established before the offensive player begins his upward motion, collisions are far more likely to be deemed blocks.

“They’ve changed everything, and it seems like it’s going to be a lot harder to do that this year,” Noreen said. He and his teammates watched an NCAA instructional video that illustrated just how hands-free defenders need to be.

“The video made it sound like they are going to call 60 percent more blocking fouls that were charges last year, so I’m not that happy about it. You might have to just let the guy score to avoid the foul. But it seems like that’s what the NCAA wants.”

Harris wants it too. WVU’s leading scorer from last season felt he was brutalized by handsy defenders.

“I feel more confident now driving to the basket that I’m going to score, unless you foul me,” he said. “But last year, you could foul somebody and get away with it.

“The rules are the rules. The teams that adjust are going to win. The teams that don’t and complain about it are not going to win.”

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  • Justin

    How can people shoot a team down before it even starts? Yea if were loosing I get it but give it a rest.

  • Josh

    Thanks Alex, yea I have Root Pitt, and thought it would be on. I supposed I will go old school tonight and listen to it on the radio, and catch the tape-delay Sunday. Thanks again. Gooo Mounties!

  • Alex

    @Josh ...Sorry, about the game not in your area... If you did want to watch a game delayed...
    You could see it on direct TV... Channel 659 Sunday at 5 PM..... You can't get some idea about the players if you're checked in on it.... But by that time you would know who won the game and by how much ...that's not too interesting...

  • Josh

    Hey fellow fans, I'm out of state, anyone know how I watch the game tonight?

  • pghmountaineer

    I think the point that some folks are trying to make in these types of forums is that we are all fans of the team. The issue is now a days, these coaches are paid huge sums of money and to get the results we've been getting the last couple of years from our two major sports teams is really unacceptable. To be paid 2+ million dollars per year and have at best a 500 average or worse is, in my opinion, throwing money away. I believe we could get the same results with 1/3 of the salary dollars we are now paying these folks.
    I don't think it has anything to do with loyalty. We expect more from these folks based on their wages and we're not getting it. I don't know of any emploter who expects lees than average results for top pay.
    Just one person's opinion.

    • wvrefugee


  • Alex

    WVU Person. .... Liked your post ....Too bad there is not enough sports fans like you , you sound like you are a true mountaineer... Armchair critics try to ruin everything... I guess they don't have no friends , nobody to communicate with except on this website and post the way they do... Thank you WVU Person....

    • Mister Man

      Yup. The Marshall fans have to troll the WVU blogs. No one can troll the Marshall blogs because there are no posts on them.

  • mark

    Without Holton and Macon WVU will have a difficult time stopping bigger teams. Our success will depend on making a high % of jump shots this year. This has not been our forte in the past, but maybe it will be this year. Go Mountaineers! Love you no matter what.

  • WVU Person

    I'am missing something here about being a fan of a sports team....I though it was more than just sitting and waiting in a reclining chair to see a team play on TV ... I had the impression a TRUE fan would go in PERSON to watch the team play... There is some people who criticize a lot about WVU has never been to Morgantown to watch a game ever .. (Yet they are down on the team every which way they can ) ... Support them in their activities... Buy their products( not from Walmart ) ... Except them when they win and lose... Donate financially to them... Go on the road and watch their games when possible.... Support the school support the AD support all coaches.... In the case of WVU bleed Gold & Blue... I am sorry for people who can't fulfill half of what I just said.... I know everything a school does you don't have to like it , But why do you criticize everything ??? I don't understand I learned when I was young ....( (( if you can't say something good about somebody it's best don't say anything at all )))'s the best policy.....Be at the game tomorrow night.... Love the Mountaineers...

    • Big Larry

      WVU Person,

      You are missing a lot...


      1. You MUST attend all games (Home & Away) in person. You are NEVER permitted to watch a game on Television.

      2. You may NEVER voice an opinion or criticize and you MUST agree with all decisions made by coaches, AD or the President!

      3. You MUST buy all WVU souvenirs and products exclusively from WVU and you may NEVER but any product from Walmart that says..."WVU".

      4. You MUST regularly send Donations to WVU regardless of what your income level may be.

      5. You MUST expect WVU to win every single sporting event and be happy when they lose.

      6. You MUST ALWAYS support the AD, coaches and all supportive staff of WVU.

      7. You MUST have a medical blood transfusion to make sure you always bleed Blue & Gold Blood.

      8. You MUST always say good things about everyone and if you cant...keep your mouth shut.

      NOTE: The above rules has just disqualified 99.9% of all current WVU fans. There will only be one WVU fan in attendance tonight and tomorrow night.

      • wvrefugee

        I did follow your logic for awhile and now realize you are a blooming idiot! #toomuchtimeonyourhands

      • squad

        really? everybody take a picture now...none of you know a damned thing until we see them in action.. good times coming

  • Kevin

    Well maybe big Larry should just move away from this great state of ours and become an Alabama football fan they seem to win every year and maybe Tar Heel basketball they do pretty well also and that should make him happy. Enough with negativity if u don't like it don't watch.

    • Big Larry

      As a lifelong West Virginia resident, I grew up watching The WVU Mountaineers. Once that gets in your blood, you can never shake it. I will always love and support the WVU teams and players...just not the current AD and Football and Basketball coaches which I oppose for their ineptness.

      On the other hand, I also grew up watching the Ohio State Buckeyes in football and the Kentucky Wildcats in Basketball. Both of those programs and their fans strive for excellence...and if they don't get it, (unlike WVU)....they kick their coaches out until they find proven winners and start all over.

      The OSU football team has won 19 in a row and the Kentucky Basketball team has the top recruiting class ever assembled in the history of college basketball. So for now, I will stick with those two programs over Alabama & North Carolina....thank you very much.

      Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins has brought the WVU basketball program down into mediocrity and for the most part the fans have accepted it. They love Huggins and that is all that really matters to them. It is what it is.

      And as for the Marshall Basketball team as bad as they will be this year, I look for them to defeat the Mountaineers this season down in Charleston.

      And yes..."ineptness" is a word.

      • Mister Man

        Correct. It's analogous to Big Larry.

      • wvrefugee

        Kentucky fans cheat! Lived there too long and watched it go on! BTW, I hope you put your money where your mouth is on these WVU athletics discussions??? What level of donorship are you???

        • MoMoney

          What level are you?? I didn't know you had to be a donor to the WVU athletic program to comment on here. I guess you are one of those liberal progressives who want to quash the 1st amendment.

          • wvrefugee

            Nope, but I find the most vocal and "knowledgable" are NOT donors and don't spend a dime here ! Be a part of the solution instead of the problem! I hate what is going on in Motown right now AND I am showing it with the donations. That seems to be the only thing Luck listens to. Gold Scholar for your info!

          • Big Larry


            Thank you Mo. I love the WVU Mountaineers and have been a loyal fan for over 40 years. If they never win another game, I will still be a fan.

            But that doesn't mean I have to support every decision that is made by all the top Brass officials. They have made some bad calls and decisions that has adversely affected these two sports programs and you are criticized if you ever bring them up...

            Its sorta like a police state...either you support every decision made or you are out....

  • Big Larry

    This will be one of the 15 wins the Mountaineers get this season.

    Who did they defeat last season?

    WVU's 13 heralded wins in 2012-2013:

    Every one of these teams were pitiful last year. Especially Texas Tech who beat WVU in the Tournament. Look these teams up and then look at their record and who they played and you will see how really bad they were.

    Virginia Tech
    Texas Tech
    Texas Tech

    QUESTION: Are the new incoming freshman and walk-ons going to come in and save the day?

    ANSWER: Of Course not. Besides, it takes 4 years to learn Huggins complicated system.

    QUESTION: Can WVU win 15 games this season?

    ANSWER: It is possible but doubtful.

    QUESTION: Will the fans be happy and keep buying tickets if the team only wins 13 games?

    ANSWER: Of Course...As long as Huggins is the coach. That is the only reason they come. They couldn't possibly be coming to watch a good WVU basketball team.

    QUESTION: Will Bob Huggins continue to wear his Penn State Sweatsuit this year?

    ANSWER: Who is going to stop him? With his new iron-clad unconditional contract, WVU can not even fire him.

    QUESTION: Will the WVU Basketball program ever recover after Huggins leaves? First of all, it probably will not be in our lifetime time that we see Huggins leave...(at least not mine)...but to answer the will never recover

    • Andy

      Big stupid,

      You should be ashamed of yourself. Unfortunately, a prerequisite for that to happen is you'd need to have some self respect and a brain. You're short on both accounts.

      By far the biggest potential win for the Mountaineer team and fans in the 2013-2014 season would be for you to just go away. Everything after that is gravy...