Thursday, November 30, 2006

Proposed rule change for NCAA basketball

I've been somewhat jaded of late with college basketball. Growing up in Kansas, we had every reason to love college hoops - Larry Brown, Roy Williams, and now Bill Self have brought much success to the Kansas basketball team, and Kansas State has improved quite a bit with Jim Woolridge and potentially with Bob Huggins. Even Wichita State is doing rather well! Both Williams and Self are excellent strategists who have conditioned and coached their players well, and it shows on the court. But one aspect of the basketball that is absolutely ridiculous is this: using the foul as a strategic advantage.

Of all the sports I enjoy, basketball is the only one where it is strategic and advantageous to incur a penalty. Countless games have been improbably won because the losing team fouls the winning team, the winning team doesn't hit the freethrows, and the losing team manages to race down the court and shoot, only to foul again, miss again, race down, shoot, foul, miss, etc., until the losing team eventually pulls ahead and wins the game. This is silly.

The NCAA rules committee tried an experimental rule change in 1999 to address this issue. The rule change was that if you are in the double bonus, you have an option of not shooting free throws and instead maintaining possession of the basketball. I really liked the change, but it apparently didn't garner enough support to be a permanent change. That simple change allowed Stanford to beat Duke 80-79 in overtime because the "incur a penalty as a strategy" was effectively taken away.

I propose two alternative rules:

1. If you are fouled while in the double bonus with less than two minutes to go, you shoot two free throws and have the option of taking 10 seconds off of the game clock.

~ or ~

2. If you are fouled while in the double bonus with less than two minutes to go, you treat each foul as though it were a technical foul. Two free throws AND possession.

The goal here is to eliminate the use of a foul as a strategic advantage. This is a game of basketball, not a game of let's-abuse-the-rules. Football rules gurus ran across a similar situation when the offense would intentionally incur a penalty to stop the clock in order to set up a play or to get the field-goal team out on the field. They made a rule where if the losing or tied team's offense incurs certain penalties with less than a minute and a half remaining in the game, then 10 seconds are ran off the clock.

Basketball is a very good sport that involves a lot of strategy, skill, and, to some extent, luck. But it shouldn't involve abusing the rules to gain a strategic advantage. Please, NCAA rules committee, consider bringing basketball back to its roots!


Anonymous Brent O'Connor said...

I agree.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Chuckie said...

If you can't make a few free throws, you don't deserve to win the game.

4:04 PM  

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