Are the New Rules Good For the Game?

The Future of the Game

You are probably asking yourself what in the world these rules changes in college basketball are all about. I have asked myself the same questions over and over. It is good for the game as a whole, just not for this season. The new rules are supposed to limit fouls and improve game flow. Does spending a lot of time at the free throw line count as game flow? From last week’s game that’s what it seemed to be. There were several examples of these high number of free throw attempts in last week’s games. In the Kentucky/Texas-Arlington game, a total of 61 free throws were taken. In the #11 Memphis/#7 Oklahoma State game, a total of 77 free throws were taken! In the 2012 season, Oklahoma State averaged 23 free throws a game. Thus far in the season, FTA is significantly higher than in years past.  How is this helping with game flow and limiting fouls?

For the overall game, I can’t tell who this new rule is benefiting at the moment. Teams seem confused about the new rules and are having a hard time adjusting. Throughout this season, there will be more fouls called and it will result in slower games. But that’s ok, because rule changes take a while to adjust. Coaches have to adjust their offensive and defensive schemes when these rules are put in place. Also, players have to adjust the way they defend and the intensity of their offense.  

The players benefiting from the change right now might not necessarily be the ones benefiting in March Madness. It’s too early to determine the long-term effects that the rules changes will have on the overall game but could definitely make for better basketball if handled correctly. I’ve read over the rule change dozens and dozens of times and parts of it still leave me puzzled. Some say it will limit fouls and create better game flow, and some say that players will end up just spending more time at the free throw line. Nevertheless, star players saw great games these past two weeks despite losses by some of those top teams.

After their 84-93 loss to Kansas Nov. 12, Duke’s Jabari Parker scored 21 points on 8-18 shooting and 1-2 3 point-shooting in their 83-74 win over East Carolina. Rodney Hood had a career best game with 30 points on 8-10 shooting and 2-2 on 3-point shooting. Parker has shown his dominance through the start of this season. He shows quality skills in the paint and has the ability to finish. Parker is a good rebounder who gives the Blue Devils plenty of second chance opportunities. He is a versatile player who can shoot from the perimeter then play above the rim when needed. He gets his teammates involved and distributes the ball around instead of trying to handle every possession.

With a perfect record, #2 Kansas topped Iona 86-66 Tuesday night. G Andrew Wiggins scored 13 on 4-9 shooting and went 1-4 on 3-point shooting. At this point in the season, Wiggins is showing superior ball handling skills on the court. His high basketball IQ and incredible court vision allow him to get other players involved and help create shots for him and other members of the team. He shoots from the perimeter like Ray Allen and drives the paint like Kevin Durant. F Perry Ellis scored 21 points on 9-11 shooting.

The dominant team thus far in the season would have to be the #1 Michigan State Spartans. Like I said in a previous article, their experience is what is leading their way. The offense has a great flow to it and their defensive assignments are always on point. This is something that more teams need to realize. If you play together for longer than a year you might be able to contend and make a name for yourself. When they lost their 15 point second half lead against Kentucky Nov. 12th, the dynamic play of Keith Appling and David Harris kept them in the game and caused Kentucky to struggle with game consistency. Kentucky couldn’t be consistent on offense to hold on and eventually led to the Spartan victory, 78-74.

With all this said who is benefiting now and who will benefit later from the rules change? Will calls continue to be given to star players? Will the limit on fouls be enforced? After years of refs calling it one way, you can’t expect them to recalibrate and reverse their ways of calling in just one season. This will be a type of rebuilding year for the game as they adjust to the new rules. It will be interesting to see how this years and future recruits adjust to the game and if they prepare any differently. Team strategies will change because of the rules to allow for more offense. Schemes for perimeter players will be altered and might finally bring back the position of the center. Hopefully, teams will adjust by March Madness so that the competition factor can be better than ever. Until then, I guess we get to sit back and watch as the game we love so much begins to “improve.”