When a veteran coach like Dan Hurley doesn’t know how to adapt to a rule change, you can bet we’re in for a bumpy ride as the season opens.
Randy Peterson of USA Today put it succinctly when he wrote “College basketball officials are supposed to call hand-checking a foul as they transition the sport from ‘no harm, no foul’ to ‘no touching.'”
It’s pretty much a 180-degree swing, and that’s causing some major problems for college coaches and their players. Following a 93-77 exhibition win over Southern Connecticut State, second-year Rams head man Hurley put it bluntly: “Right now, I don’t know what a foul is on the perimeter. I just don’t know,” he told the Providence Journal . “Going into the season, it’s scary because you just don’t know what a foul is.”
The rule changes, intended to ease the physicality of defense in DI hoops, is supposed to (eventually) speed the game up, but early on, the whistles will likely have the opposite effect.
The Rams were called for 28 fouls, the same number as Southern Connecticut. The teams attempted a combined 71 free throws with the Rams winning out at the line, 25-14. Even with no TV timeouts the game took a shade more than 2:15 to complete.
Hurley said his team was whistled for “even more fouls” in a closed scrimmage last weekend against Manhattan. He battled with the officials most of the way Friday night and picked up a technical foul in the second half.
As a devotee of the defensive side of basketball, I’m curious how this is all going to play out. Will Wisconsin games start to look like the NBA All-Star contest, instead of the grind-fest we’re all used to from Bo Ryan? Or will we simply find ourselves watching an equally boring parade to the foul line every night?
Every season is a strange new beast these days, and this one will be no different.