The ref is seeing what you are: there should be a few more banners up there.
Somebody on the board over the weekend put up a thread mentioning some of the oft-repeated myths and memes in college basketball concerning this team or that player. I thought I would take a crack at a few of those surrounding the crackdown on handchecks and charges this year.
With the New Charge Rules Scoring is Up
Though there's still time to sort things out, but here's Adjusted Offensive ratings for all teams on Kenpom:
Missed SEO opportunity in not labeling this graph "Climate Change"
You can see something needed to be done, since offense had been declining steadily at all levels of D-I*, and bottomed last season. And you can see something was definitely done. I am comparing only the first half of this season to the entireties of the others so perhaps offense naturally declines as the year progresses and you play more conference foes who know your schemes. If so it hasn't affected Michigan that much. Here's the average points scored by Michigan and their opponents (some M's score plus Opp's score divided by 2) in regular season games over that period:
|Another explanation for the increase in scoring this year is the exponential growth in Canada's swag markets over the last two quarters. [Fuller]|
|Season||First 19||After 19||Diff|
A point less. Confirmed.
* [Except the '05 to '06 dip for the mid-majors, which was conference expansion. That's when Cincy and Louisville et al. joined the Big East, and the mid-majors replaced them by plucking football-first degree factories in Florida (UCF, FIU, USF) plus smallish rocky mountain schools and the Trojan Troy Trojans of Troy (We're from Troy!)].
[Jump for a few more]
The New Rules Have Slowed the Game
The theory was that more fouls, less reliance on transition (since your half-court offense can be efficient). As with the NHL the year they decided playing Jersey Grab-Ass can't count as hockey, foul calls were expected to be way up, and the pace of the game way down. In early November SI's Pete Thamel called it "a diet before beach season."
Tracking fouls is was kind of a bitch so I only went back to the 2009-'10 season. The NCAA does, however, still keep historical weekly stat updates so I could pull just the games played before 1/28 of each season.
|Season||Nationally||Big Ten Only|
Know what? The fouls are following the scoring trends. There's about two more whistles per game this year than there was last season nationally and a little over one extra in Big Ten play, but it's not significantly different than historical norms. Even the supposedly rocky beginning wasn't so bad. As of 12/8 (a month into this season) personal fouls per game were at 19.8—high but not staggering.
Big Ten Officials Swallow Their Whistles
Beilein teams have never been much for fouling, or for getting to the line. This year Michigan is actually first in the country at fewest personal fouls per game (14.89), with just one other team under 15. That team is Wisconsin because Wisconsin plays half games, and the High Grublewalders of Rigel send locusts to the homes of any refs who dare blow their whistles at the Badgers.
I made a rough attempt at adjusting for tempo by dividing the fouls/game by KenPom's tempo stat, and Michigan is now 4th in the country at not fouling, just ahead of Iowa State and two spots ahead of (ARRGH TIMES A BILLION BILLION) Wisconsin. Results:
|Penn State's historically been that weird team that fouls a lot AND gets called for it. [Fuller]|
From eyeballing this it looks like better conferences just foul a bit less. The Big Ten is pretty normal with regard to whistles blown, although my stats might be thrown off by non-conference play being too big a factor in the above. So let's just see real quick if things have changed much since conference play began.
|Pac officials appear to be a little more willing to call a foul on Arizona than ours were. [Fuller]|
|Conf||F/Gm as of 12/28||F/Gm since||Diff|
Nope. This one's busted.
Beilein Teams Don't Foul
When I made that fouls-per-game divided by tempo stat I tried a quick sort. This is still just the data from before 1/28 each season but the #1 least fouly team in the study was 2012-'13 Michigan. Out of 1,728 first-halfs of seasons by teams since 2009-'10, Michigan has the 1st (last year), 68th (this year), 117th (2010), 211th (2012), and 466th (2011) least fouling teams.
That's good for sixth in the country over that time. Five teams that foul less in their first 19 games of each season: Miss St, North Carolina, South Dakota, Notre Dame, and Iowa State. Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa are all pretty high.