Larry Eustachy

Larry Eustachy on new foul enforcement: ‘It’s about the money’

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One of the great parts about having so many great individual players and such a wealth of great teams across the country this season is that we only made it about a week until the topic of the increased enforcement of foul rules has become secondary.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have so much more fun talking about the players on the court and the plays they are running than I do writing about specifics and stats when it comes to fouls and foul shots.

But just because it has faded away from the headlines a bit doesn’t mean that the topic of fouling doesn’t come up.

Take Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy, who was ejected from his team’s loss to UTEP on Tuesday. Eustachy was mad about the officiating in large part due to the number of fouls taht were called on his big men. Both of Colorado State’s centers fouled out of the game, which was a major reason that the Rams were dominated on the glass; Colorado State has traditionally been one of the best rebounding teams in the country.

Here’s what Eustachy had to say, via The Coloradoan:

“It’s about money. Let’s face it, they want scoring up, which means they want more fans, so it’s really not about the student-athlete and that’s why I got into this profession—the student-athlete,” Eustachy said in his postgame radio interview. “I’m going to protect these guys who work so hard for me and this university. I’m going to protect them. If it means making some statements every now and then, I’m going to do it.

“(They called) touch fouls, which means you eliminated our two centers. Is that about the kids? Is that about the players? Is that what we’re really in it for?”

I understand his frustration. He’s spent his entire career coaching his kids to play one way, and now he’s being told that way is no longer OK. On Tuesday, it cost his team a game.

But you know what? The rules are the rules. They aren’t going anywhere, and, frankly, nothing new has been made up or added to the rule book. A decision was made that referees were actually going to enforce the rules that currently exist.

And he may be right. This may be about the fans and the dollars and the aesthetics of the game.

Eustachy’s wrong, however. He says that we simply wanted more scoring.

It’s actually because we want to watch basketball, not rugby.

Word of advice, Larry: you better figure out a way to teach your kids how to avoid fouling out with the way the rules are now being enforced, or you’re going to have a lot of games where your big men won’t be on the floor at the end of the night.

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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