College basketball's new rules will make the game a better product

New rules have been implemented to unshackle a sport that in recent years has become more mosh pit than athletic artistry.
by Berry Tramel Modified: October 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: October 17, 2013

Here's what to expect, especially in the early going.

Many more foul calls, as the players learn to adjust. Much complaining, as coaches try to retake the ground they've staked out over the years as physical defense took over the game. Finally, a political fight.

The rules committee felt so strongly about the state of the game, it adopted the rules rather than just labeling them as points of emphasis.

Shaw said all 23 or 24 conference coordinators across the nation were assembled and told they will be supported. They also were told they will be watched, and any conference not adhering to the new standards will be notified.

“Our commissioners don't want those phone calls,” Shaw said. “I don't want those phone calls.”

Scoring no doubt will go up. The NBA adopted similar hand-checking restrictions in 2004. SMU coach Larry Brown coached in the NBA during that time, and Shaw heard Brown say that while shots didn't increase, quality shots did.

We know what he's talking about. Think how many times in recent years you've seen college teams work almost the entire shot clock, trying to get a decent look at the basket, before jacking up some prayer.

The rules also will benefit certain types of players.

Penetrating point guards will be more valuable than ever and harder to stop. Shot blockers will be at a premium, since defending the rim will be easier than defending the lane. At least in the early going, good foul shooters will come in handy, too. And players who know how to play defense with their quickness, more so than their strength, will have an advantage.

Ford says he's already coaching his team on how to adapt defensively. Arms spread, palms out, feet moving. Which when you come to think of it, is how everyone always was supposed to play defense.

“I think some people are going to take this rule to say you can't play defense,” Ford said. “I think the team that says, ‘Hey, we're going to figure out how to be a great defensive team within the rules' are the teams that are going to be successful.”

No doubt it will be a rough November. Long games. Lots of fouls. Lots of foul shots, the worst part of any basketball.

But once players and coaches adjust, and we come out on the other side, college basketball will be a better game.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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