“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
This season's proliferation of Bo Ryan bug basketball combined with the electric NCAA final and how that final was marred by the gibbering incompetents in stripes to create an environment where you can't throw a rock without hitting someone suggesting changes intended to make basketball more watchable. Most of these are at least indirectly aimed at Bo Ryan.
Here are some ideas which I do not necessarily endorse, except in the case of removing timeouts. I have watched basketball at least once and therefore am passionately in favor of this.
Eamonn Brennan caught the normally shy and reticent Tom Izzo making an appearance on the radio in which he said this:
“We have the slowest game in the world,’” Izzo said. “As you say, the international [game] is less [slow]. The pro is less. The women’s is less. And here we are with 35 [seconds].
He went on to say that chopping the shot clock was discussed at the rules committee meetings in Atlanta. Brennan suggests a drop to 24 but if they did change this I'd guess they go with 30, an intermediate between the current clock and the same as the international game.
I'm not sure a drop does much to make basketball nicer to look at. If you go all the way to 24 you've got less good basketball players operating in an unrestricted zoning environment, which is a recipe for a lot of ugly no-look heaves at the basket with the buzzer going up. Is watching Wisconsin play in a 24-second shot clock world even grimmer? Maybe. I shudder to think about middling college teams trying to scrape together a shot in 14 seconds after barely busting a VCU or Louisville press. College players probing the Syracuse zone in 24 seconds… I mean. Yergh.
If it's 30 you have marginally increased the speed of the game and made it more difficult for bug people to squat on your enjoyment… at least when they're on offense. They'll squat all the fiercer on defense.
One positive development from a shorter shot clock is the increased attractiveness of running. It still seems like a minefield of unintended consequences.
No one has specifically been suggesting this because they haven't been forced to watch a basketball game that's just gone under two minutes with both coaches in possession of four timeouts, but check twitter the next time this goes down. Basketball teams should get one time out, end story. If networks want to slightly bulge commercial breaks in compensation, fine. Anything is better than the end of a tight basketball game feeling like rush hour in Chicago.
For a quick check on what happens when you don't have timeouts, let's go to the end of the Michigan-Indiana game. Michigan is down one with twelve seconds left and no timeouts:
While the outcome was displeasing to Michigan fans, hey guess what it's still basketball, and for neutrals it was much better than the same thing after yet another 30 second break.
Severely reducing available timeouts has the added benefit of making games more chaotic at the end. You can't save a possession by calling TO on the floor; you have to inbound even if that seems like a bad idea; you can't bail yourself out when trapped in a corner. All those near-turnovers that end in an anti-climatic timeout are suddenly 50/50 balls, which favors the trailing team.
Unfortunately, an unholy conspiracy of control freak coaches and revenue-craving TV execs means this will never, ever happen.
Call those foul things
At right: possibly a foul. Possibly not. But it definitely wasn't called one. Probably.
"We actually teach it, and it hurts us sometimes when we're not as physical as other teams."
The national title game was poorly officiated all around. One of the ways in which it was is symptomatic of a larger trend and not just an OOOAAAWWWWHHHH outrage with no redeeming qualities: all those phantom fouls on Louisville once they'd stolen the ball. UL would foul Michigan up and down the court; refs wouldn't call it until Michigan was in a terrible position because of it and turned it over. There's a tendency to look at foul, see if it affects the play, and then call it. You know and hate those whistles that occur after the shot.
A foul should be a foul. No more talk about Deciding The Game. The refs are deciding the game either way. "Letting the players play" is in fact letting nobody play because it's hard to play basketball when people are bumping and grinding you. Letting people play leads to ugly rugby-scrum games. All year Michigan opponents would hand-check Burke; all year everyone would shuffle their chest into the shooter without consequence; all year you could plow into a three-point shooter on a closeout without getting a whistle except in the most extreme circumstances.
At this point there has to be a terrible period where a foul is redefined as a consistent thing not dependent on the game situation, which will lead to scads of ugly games with lots of free throws. It'll be like that period in the NHL when the powers that be decided that all that stuff in the rulebook was there for a reason. That was a half-season of misery, but the game came out better for it.
Also, for pants sake can we get an advantage call? If a foul does nothing to prevent a one-on-zero fast break, fling your arms out dramatically and give the foul at the next opportunity*, which will almost invariably be after the fast-break bucket. When it's not just whistle it when the opposing team gets the ball back. They can't complain, they committed a foul.
You'll like this a lot, basketball referees. It's very dramatic. You can pretend you're a matador, or super into right angles, and you can do it for seconds at a time when the play is still going on.
*[no shots, just the personal and the team foul.]
The usual NBA business
The NCAA has no power to change the NBA's one-and-done rule. If they did, they would have already done it. That doesn't stop people from coming up with better systems than the current one—all of them. Beilein advocates for a baseball model where you either go straight out of high school or hang around for three years:
"(My preference would) probably be very much like baseball," Beilein said earlier this week. "I think that would be a great thing. If there's a Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron (James) out of high school, he can get that big contract and go.
"If not, go (to college) for three years and make an educated decision. Then guys can redshirt and do all these things. That's ideal in my mind."
The NBA is unlikely to go for that since one of the main goals of one-and-done was to put their future stars in a year-long free marketing internship, and to prevent a bunch of high schoolers with no business declaring from doing so.
Actually, there are some things the NCAA can do to help out here. For one, they can change their archaic rules. If you opt into a draft, you're done. If you just get drafted, you can maintain your eligibility. The "you just get drafted" rule is in place in hockey, and while it has its flaws the end result is a lot more sensible. A couple years ago I made an extremely useful and no doubt soon-to-be-accepted proposed change to the draft that boils down to these points:
Everyone gets drafted out of high school; they retain their eligibility. The draft expands a round or two.
An NBA team signing a draft pick has to provide a guaranteed contract that lasts until the player is five years out of high school. They cannot reclaim this roster spot even if the player is cut.
Drafted, unsigned players can participate in summer league.
As a bonus the NCAA could allow drafted players to retain agents, get some money, and go to NBA team activities on the team's dime. The NBA could execute the bulleted sections all on their own now, though.
This would move the "should I leave school" decision to the player and the team instead of an advisory board that's guessing. NBA teams would have to think hard about guaranteeing a high school kid money and a roster spot for five years, less hard about guaranteeing a junior two. The NCAA would enjoy an influx of attention from fans of pro teams tracking their draftees and could use that as a useful jumping off point from their archaic notions of amateurism.
Fire anyone who turns the act of calling a charge into a play in one act
Also never happening but as long as I'm getting this out of my system I figure I should mention this. God bless the guy who called the Morgan/Triche charge like he was Marvin the Paranoid Android.
Yes. We all get frustrated when the refs swallow their whistle during the muggings under the basket. I am all for tightening that up. However, I don’t want to see every nudge, every little touch, every finger on a guy turn into free throws. It’s the reason why I stopped watching the NBA and find college basketball more enjoyable: if aaron craft shoots 25 free throws a game because a foul is called on him for every drive, what fun is that? Hows that improving anything?
We do need to stop impeding the flow of the game. But it doesn't mean we should penalize good defense and physical play. I don't want basketball to become what Arena Football is to regular football.
Maybe the answer is to start calling all the little things that slow a guy down, like hand checking and stuff that just makes the game clutch and grab, but not turn every hard foul into an attempted murder trial. You can still call flagrant things for intensional shots to the head, but we don't need them for every time a guy drives to the basket and you foul him hard enough to prevent the shot (and maybe make him think twice about it). It's a foul, make your free throws. But we're not going to turn it into a game where it's 70's NBA or Loyola Marymount.
I think the whole point is that if you start calling the actual fouls, teams will learn to stop fouling. There was a tweet from one of the NCAA games that someone basically said, "instead of getting pissed at the refs for calling so many fouls, tell the teams to stop fouling."
My compromise is to call all of the off ball clutching and grabbing that restricts movement and call most plays where a ball handler drives with their head down through the lane a charge. That would fit my vision of basketball as a skill and passing game (I recognize everyone doesn't share the same vision).
I think teams press to get turnovers. 10s violations, bad passes, steals, etc. all come from pressing and you can get lots of points by getting the fast breaks from them. VCU would still benefit from this because teams would then have 20s once crossing half court instead of 25-33s. So, if they trap a guy, they will almost assuredly force a bad shot if they don't get the turnover because there will be very little time left on the shot clock once the player gets the ball out to someone else.
Besides, any change to the rules is going to hurt or benefit various teams.
The main purpose of full-court pressure is to force turnovers. You can't burn more than 10 seconds off the clock doing it (or it becomes a turnover anyway). If anything, I would think a shorter shot clock would work to the advantage of teams like VCU, since the opposing offense would have even less time to run its halfcourt sets than it currently does when it breaks the press.
I like the idea of advantage, but just like soccer it should be waved off after a certain amount of time--say, 3-5 seconds. That gives enough time to attempt a fast break opportunity, and if the foul causes the team in possession to regroup or lose possession, call the foul. Otherwise play on.
Hockey has a good system. Baseball has a better one. Why these can't be adapted to basketball, I have yet to figure out. Personally I would simply take the baseball rule and use it for basketball, except with two years instead of three. I'd prefer to lean toward baseball in that you're not permanently the property of the team that drafted you and let the NBA teams roll the dice, but that's up to the NBA, not the NCAA.
Baseball set up their own way to find talent (on their dime) long ago, and hockey has a whole different infrastructure (and not enough college programs to support it). How to get the NBA to decide "yeah, we should pay for scouting the high schools ourselves rather than have the colleges do it for free" will be the challenge. What can be done to make it a benefit to the NBA?
I don't see a need to make the NBA a partner in the whole thing. I just think it would solve a lot of problems for the players if being in the draft didn't put a forever and ever end to their eligibility. The NCAA can talk with the NBA, sure, but if they can't get what they want, it still doesn't hurt either party if the NCAA makes some unilateral moves. They can allow undrafted players to return and try again, or even players who are drafted and unsigned by a certain date. It might be neater and cleaner if the NBA and NCAA work together on this, but that doesn't mean the NCAA can't improve things on their own.
The amount of time spent by officials this past season uselessly staring at monitors was at an all-time high. And as you say, about 99.9% percent of the time, nothing came of it. Maybe review end of half/game buzzer-beaters, but that's it. When you're missing dozens of calls a game anyway, how is video review (even if used properly, which it isn't) going to make a meaningful difference?
There's one thing I have appreciated about this discussion,
regardless of where the discussion is being held: here, ESPN, CBS, etc..
Everybody agrees that the Louisville-Michigan final was a terrific game. It really can't hurt Michigan's program to be associated with what has been called one of the better championship games in recent memory.
Its the sole reason Brian penned this topic. The officiating was simply pathetic. It became a street fight as the Big East officials call the same type of game as the B1G refs. It is NOT how basketball should be played. Yeah ... Louisville won, but it wasn't a game that reflected the skills and style that led Michigan to routs of VCU and Florida. It was a damn shame!
No place on earth I'd rather be on a football Saturday than Michigan Stadium !
I've been throwing this idea everywhere I can. I hate the way teams can intentionally foul themselves back into a game (It's especially bad in the NBA, with the hack-a-shaq stuff).
My solution is to let teams decide if they want their player to shoot free throws, or if they'd prefer to take the ball out of bounds, sort of like declining a penalty in football. The current argument is essentially "make your free throws and it isn't an issue," but that doesn't work for me, because the best shooters in the world miss 10% of the time.
If this rule was in place, UM probably loses to Kansas...but they also probably beat Indiana and Wisconsin. And I don't think it will completely kill miracle comebacks, because coaches can still elect free throws if they want, and inbounds plays can be tricky.
Why would any coach elect free throws in that situation? Possession of the ball is a lot more valuable than one or two points when you're already ahead. I think your proposal would make it a lot harder for teams to come back. As it is, teams often do go for steals before they elect to foul, and rarely succeed, so they do end up fouling.
I don't love the current rules, but they do make last-minute comebacks possible, and if you're a neutral fan they can make it fun.
I completely agree, you shouldn't gain an advantage by breaking the rules. Let them get the ball, maybe with a fresh shot clock too. If you are down you should have to win the game with real defense. I also think a coach should have his best players on the court when the game is on the line. The current system often makes coaches with a slim lead switch to better free throw shooters at the expense of size and rebounding ability, negating a portion of the advantage that gave them the lead.
Less time outs should be item number one on the agenda. No reason each team should have a bakers dozen (or what seems to be that many). I also thought one of the announcers during a game propose to not let coaches call a time out immediately after a basket. If they don't take away some time outs, I like that change.
Regarding making the correct calls, they need to hammer home the right/wrong call on everything from charge/block to hand checks to when a shooter can draw a foul by jumping into a guy who is clearingly on the side. You shouldn't be able to draw a foul on a guy that isn't in front of you. I also hate the lack of calls when defenders plow into guys after they release their 3s. If you are hit by a jumping defender, even if you released the ball, you should get a foul called. Also, moving/illegals picks are not called nearly as much as my eyes would seem to indicate their are being used.
The advantage call makes sense in sports like soccer, rugby, or hockey, where it's difficult to score at any given time. It would be horrendous in basketball, because it would lead to the following things:
Any time a foul was called, a player would take a couple dribbles and fling the ball toward the basket. If he makes a half-court shot, great; if not, he still gets the result of the foul. Turning the game into a ridiculous shot lottery is the opposite of progress.
To prevent (1), fouls would be far more brutal. Did your teammate get a whistle for a reach-in? You may as well clobber the guy so that he can't capitalize on an advantage call.
I know the NBA has a "clear path" foul that is an automatic basket, and would take care of those stupid fouls stopping 1-on-0 fast breaks. I'm not sure if the NCAA has that. Maybe the answer is to expand/enforce those, instead of calling an advantage situation on all fouls.
I don't think those words mean what you think they do...
He said guys were going to get clobbered by secondary fouls. You're the one who made stupid assumptions and said hard fouls warranted ejection. Tap fouls don't prevent shots, hard ones do. And if you want a game that requires an ejection every time you hack a guy, then you might as well put dresses on them. So hope that cleared up your confusion. I'll use smaller words next time so you can understand.
One of the reasons that "one and done" isn't as big a problem in college hockey and baseball is that there is a huge, well-established minor league system in those 2 sports, but not in football or basketball. A talented high school athlete in football or basketball doesn't have the "straight to the minor leagues" option that a hockey or baseball player has, so they end up in college. Maybe they're smart enough and motivated enough to take college classes, maybe not.
One suggestion I would add is to make the foul limit 6 instead of 5 (like the NBA). Too often the best players are on the bench because they pick up 2 fouls in the first half. Best players on the court = better basketball.
But there's a logical reason for that. NBA games are 20% longer, so players get 20% more personal fouls. If you give college guys six personals, you give them a lot more rope to become fouling machines and games could become even more unwatchable.
I have no problem with the held ball rule. What I have a problem with is the unbelievably quick whistles when calling held balls. At the end of Wichita St - Louisville, the Shockers had the ball and a Louisville guy got a hand on it. I swear it wasn't even a second before the whistle blew and a held ball was called. Possession went to Louisville, effectively killing WSU's chances at a comeback.
Officials are WAY too quick to call held balls. Make a rule that opposing players need to have their hands on the ball for at least 1-2 seconds before blowing the whistle. They've been notoriously inconsistent calling this.
For my privacy, my new username is "non-Oriental non-Andrew"
I also think jump balls should always go to the defense- rewarding a godo defensive posession. I also think it would make the ends of games more exciting. If you need a comeback and you get a jumpball on defense its rewarded- and your team has a better chance of gettign a comeback based on tough defensive play.
Lowering the shot clock seems to be a wise move and '30' seems like the best bet. It gives teams time to set up their offense and execute, but penalizes teams that want to bleed every possession out of a game, leading to ugly, unwatchable 49-47 games. I know a 5 second cut doesn't seem like a lot, but theoretically you'd be adding about 12 possessions a game (40 min * 60 sec = 2400 sec, divided by 35 is 68, divided by 30 is 80), probably more, given that more teams would try and speed up their offense to accomodate. Faster basketball (but not too fast) is better basketball, and would also better prepare kids for the NBA.
The problem I have with Point 2 is it contradicts Point 1. The game needs to be sped up, but more fouls equals more foul shots which leads to a more drawn-out contest. I get what you'd like the rule to do (prevent teams like Wisconsin, Georgetown, etc. from turning the game into a brawl), but I'm concerned that referees would be averse towards getting Wisky in the bonus with 16 minutes left in the first half. Biggest issues for me would be drastically reducing the number of charge calls and calling more hand checks (which you mention, granted). Too often I see defenders slide underneath an already airborne player and get a charge call. The spirit of the charge is to prevent out of control offensive players from barreling through defenders to get to the rim. If Adrien Payne gets the ball on the wing and runs straight through Caris LeVert, who is in "good defensive position", that's a charge. Very simple instruction to referees. If an offensive player's knee or elbow or chest hits a defender in the chest and the defensive player has made no forward or side-to-side motion since the player took off in the air, that's a charge. Anything else is a block.
Love the idea of high schoolers getting drafted for the NCAA, not so much for the NBA. The problem being, college tends to "weed out" high school frauds who dominated inferior competition. However, I'd like to increase attention towards the college game by having NBA prospects on college teams. For example...
The New Orleans Hornets take Trey Burke with the #5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Hornets can either begin paying Burke immediately or delay the contract and Burke could return to school. While this is unlikely for teams with lottery picks (as in the example above), what about this example.
With the 28th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select Mitch McGary from the University of Michigan. Now, McGary would be a 12th man on the Spurs next year. So, why not let him return to Michigan (not being paid by San Antonio) and play. Not only are Spurs fan suddenly invested in Michigan basketball, but McGary benefits as well. Oh, and let's say McGary leads Michigan to the title next year. Season ends April 7th. The Spurs say, "Mitch, we could use some more size and young legs off the bench for the playoffs".
I'm concerned that referees would be averse towards getting Wisky in the bonus with 16 minutes left in the first half
If refs start calling the game as suggested Wisconsin will have to adjust...or get used to playing games with 4 players because everyone else has fouled out. Good teams should be able to defend without fouling.
Yes, speed the game up please. There might be poorer shots in the half court , but missed shot leads to offensive rebounds for the offense, or fast break opportunities for the defense, which will coax teams into an uptempo style. I say make it a 24 second clock.
my rule change would be to disallow any handchecking outside of the 3 pt circle.
I don't mind allowing big guys to lean on each other in the paint. contact there should be allowed.
but allowing defensive players to drive their forearms into the ribcage of the point guard 40 feet from the basket has got to change. defenders can literally push point guards away from the center of the court w/o penalty.
i also like the 30 sec shot clock rule, if it is coupled with a rule i noted above. it would reward good defense w/o all the BS mugging.
They also need to work on the replay issue. There should be no replay to put 0.2 seconds back on the clock, this goes double when the team losing has zero timeouts and this gives them a defacto time out. Its gotten so ridiculous
The worst example of timeouts at the end of the game came in the Minnesota/IU game this year, which Minnesota won. I was talking on the phone to my dad in California and the last minute of that game must have taken 10 minutes of real time, maybe more. It really ruined the experience for me. Hell, it was laughable how long that took.
"the Spirit of Michigan...is based on a deathless loyalty to Michigan and all her ways....and a conviction that nowhere is there a better university, in any way, than this Michigan of ours" - Fielding Yost
I don't like the draft straight out of high school idea
The reason is twofold:
1st and most importantly, it means that one team controls your rights AND controls when you can enter the league. If a team sours on a drafted player, that player has no avenue to get to the league, essentially being locked out of 29 other teams with the ability to pursue their interest in the player.
Draft rights would certainly have to be tradable. You can't have an employer completely own you and control the date when you're allowed to leave school. Yeah they could play in the dleague or overseas if they didnt want to stay in school, but very few would do that.
Under the current system, teams draft players with the knowledge that (in most cases) they are occupying roster spots immediately. There is less complete information when drafting straight out of HS and it leads to team needs and player fit being aligned less often.
2 NBA teams want their scouts out of HS gyms. The rule requiring NBA draft eligible players to be one year removed from high school was done in part to keep scouts from having to scout high school games which have vast talent differences between players. The higher level of competition in college gives more certainty to evaluations. So for example under pre '05 system, or under the baseball style system where players can go pro, some players would go straight outta HS, giving teams a few elite guys they have to scout based on just HS / AAU ball. But if EVERY SINGLE PLAYER was automatically draft eligible in high school, that is something NBA front offices want nothing to do with.
I also feel like if a baseball style system was implemented, a 'go pro or stay for 2 years' system would work better than 'go pro or stay for 3'. I feel like too many basketball players (more so than those in other sports) would fear being locked into college for too long, thereby leading to them declaring when theyre not ready. Many get a wake-up call once they play in college, but you have to incent them to actually go there. So many elite HS players have huge egos and think theyre ready. Most of them, seeing a guaranteed 3 years as the alternative might not have the patience or foresight to make an educated decision. The 'go or stay 2 years' system seems a good balance between college coaches have team stability, elite guys not having their right to work restricted and not scaring guys off.