MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After several years of meddling with college basketball in an effort to pump up offense and mirror the NBA, the NCAA rules committee essentially took a hands-off approach this time.
Good move, considering how the impact of recent modifications require time to marinate among coaches, players and, yes, fans before we continue the reshaping.
For this year at least, the lane is not getting wider, the 3-point line is not getting deeper, and the men’s game is not shifting from halves to quarters. (Personally, I like that college hoops plays halves — if only because it’s a traditional facet that distinguishes it from FIBA and the NBA and doesn’t hurt the game one iota.)
Yet there’s one rule modification being overlooked nationally that could become extremely important to Press Virginia:
“Adjust the officiating guidance in relation to the cylinder rule. If a defensive player straddles an offensive player’s leg in a way that prohibits him from making a normal basketball move — which now includes pivoting — contact that creates a common foul will be called on the defensive player.”
You can bet on this one eliciting a response from Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, who previously thought offensive players already were granted too much leeway to draw fouls by bumping and defenders to create space (violating the cylinder). Now, if pivoting into contact essentially creates a defensive foul, WVU’s traps could lose some starch.
The rules committee also opted to expand the coaches box from 28 feet to 38 feet, giving Huggins and his colleagues more space to roam themselves. (Look for officials becoming less tolerant of coaches who step outside the more sizable area.)
I’m not of the mindset that college basketball needs major a renovation, aside from the inconsistencies of officiating (which is a very NBA-like problem.) So if I were grantee a seat on the NCAA rules committee, here are my only two recommendations:
• Allow players six fouls instead of the current limit of five. (We want to see the most talented players on the court, not forced to sit the final 10 minutes of the first half because they picked up two cheap ones.)
• Eliminate the double-bonus and make all free-throw bonus situations one-and-ones. (Shooting fouls would remain two shots, but the non-shooting variety would require players to make the first. This would give teams a better chance of playing catch-up late, and it would add a little pressure and excitement to otherwise boring foul shots.)