Geno Auriemma, Kelly Faris, Brianna Banks

Geno Auriemma wants the rims lowered in women’s college hoops

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Geno Auriemma has never been short on opinions. We all remember the famous press conference after his UConn women’s team passed the UCLA men’s teams of the 70s for the consecutive wins title.

This time, the seven-time national champion head coach spoke out in an article by the Hartford Courant about rules changes. The one he wants to see? Lowering the rims.

Auriemma’s attack is equal parts tactical and poignant. He says that the average person who watches a women’s college game won’t notice — I have to agree there, who is really wondering that stuff during a game? — and it will lead to better play.

“What makes fans not want to watch women’s basketball is that some of the players can’t shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down,” he said.

In a loony twist, Auriemma purposed that the rim be lowered 7.2 inches, to honor 1972, the year Title IX was put into effect. Maybe he’s kidding, maybe not.

He added that he plans to propose this to the NCAA Rules Committee at their next meeting in the spring, along with proposing teams get to scrimmage against an opponent with a 24-second shot clock and an eight-second backcourt rule.

In summation, Auriemma wants to speed the game up. People want to see good, fast basketball and while lowering the rim would help, I don’t envision it turning women’s basketball — while at the elite level, is great and entertaining in itself — into an above the rime game, unless you’re Brittney Griner.

I do totally support the shot clock and backcourt rules. I think a huge problem with the women’s game is the rules that cater to playing a totally half-court game, to which there are a ton, on all levels. Speeding things up a bit will make things infinitely better, and after a transitional period, it will make the players better.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: