College Basketball in 2013

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 12:51 PM
I am a huge sports fan. I particularly love college sports. We don't have any pro sports teams in Alabama. So, we take our college sports very seriously. Like many sports fans I have watched the NCAA tournament this year. I have to say, if the current trend continues, I don't think I will in the future. I don't like the product.

In particular, I pretty much hate the way Louisville plays basketball. Yes, the won. Kudos to them. I don't blame them really. No, the real problem is the lack of offensive foul calls. Players push and shove each other. Guys going up for a lay up from under the back board are free to bully their way up to the rim including jumping backwards into a well placed defender. The only thing that matters to the NCAA is scoring, at any cost.


Luke Hancock stealing the game from Witchita State by fouling although it was called a jump ball. / Jaime Green/MCT via freep.com
So, getting back to Louisville, Rick Petino and his players have figured out just how far they can push these limits. They are almost playing hockey. But, in basketball, there is no penalty box. You get 5 fouls. If you have a deep bench like Petino, you just plug in another guy and they keep fouling. On the other side you have Luke Hancock, named MVP of the Final Four (geez, talk about bad role models) throwing a pump fake and then leaning into a player in a direction that is not toward the basket or any kind of natural shooting motion, just to draw the foul. Those should be no calls or offensive fouls, IMO.

I coach youth basketball. I teach my kids to not foul. I teach my kids to not touch each other when at all possible. On defense, they need to be in position and ready to move their feet. On offense, don't try and run over people. If you have to foul to stop someone, then we need a better game plan. Or maybe they are just better than we are. I have on occasion praised a kid for being aggressive which led to a foul. These are eight year olds. And some of them are still in a shell about being athletic. But, I never say "foul him". And I never have my kid try and draw a foul the way Luke Hancock does. That is just dirty basketball. I will tell my kids to drive the lane and go for the goal. And "if" you get fouled it's OK. But, never go looking for the foul.

Contrastingly, I watched some of the New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game Sunday. These guys hardly ever touch each other. They play within, what I believe, are the real rules of basketball. The game is a little fast and there is a lot of one on one play that can be tedious. But, it was more fun to watch than NCAA basketball. Maybe all the good basketball players go to the NBA and we are left with scrubs in the NCAA. They are too small (size wise) or to slow to play corner back in football so they end up playing basketball as an "athlete". I hope something is done about this. The game is just getting trashy.

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