Mike Strange: Vols still not sure how rule changes will play out

Mike Strange
Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5), right, blocks Southern Indiana forward Aaron Nelson's (2), left, path to the basket during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5), right, blocks Southern Indiana forward Aaron Nelson's (2), left, path to the basket during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

College basketball season begins for real Friday. Virtually everyone is wondering how a couple of rule changes will impact the art of playing defense.

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Comments » 5

Plasticman85 writes:

I hate the rule changes. Nothing is worse than a basketball game turning into a FT shooting contest. I'm sure Teddy Valentine is excited since he will get to garner more attention blowing his whistle. Once again, the NCAA shows its ignorance.

maciste54 writes:

Hopefully the Vols depth this year will be a big factor for when the horrid officiating in the SEC takes center stage.

underthehill writes:

My opinion is that this is not good for the game..I can see stopping the hand checks..which never should have been allowed..but I can't see giving the offensive player any more advantage in the block/charge call..I watch very little pro basketball in part because it seems to me to be more of an exhibition than a contest..how many times does the defender step aside and watch the star attraction dunk..I'd hate to see college bb come to that..

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

I hate the rule changes. Nothing is worse than a basketball game turning into a FT shooting contest. I'm sure Teddy Valentine is excited since he will get to garner more attention blowing his whistle. Once again, the NCAA shows its ignorance.

As with much else in life, the best of intentions can fail in their application. From its very beginnings, basketball has been a physical sport. However, over the past 25 or so years, it has increasingly come to resemble Wrestlemania on hardwood. The basic skills of basketball are difficult enough to execute properly without having to master ninja or wrestling skills as well. Games had either become foul-fests or mixed-martial-arts cage matches, neither quite capturing the intent of the game. So drastic measures seemed warranted.

In Saturday's exhibition, the whistles were ubiquitous, as was the case in the first half last night. In the second half last night, the calls were a little looser but the game didn't get out of hand. It will take officials and players awhile to adjust, but if games are called somewhat more like last night's second half, that would probably be the best outcome we can expect. With their great depth, the Vols are probably in a better position than most to withstand a whistle epidemic, though we all hope it doesn't come to that.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

My opinion is that this is not good for the game..I can see stopping the hand checks..which never should have been allowed..but I can't see giving the offensive player any more advantage in the block/charge call..I watch very little pro basketball in part because it seems to me to be more of an exhibition than a contest..how many times does the defender step aside and watch the star attraction dunk..I'd hate to see college bb come to that..

Yeah, the block/charge call has always been the hardest one to make, but it really handicaps the defense if the charge is basically taken away. Last night, I saw a few such plays called as blocks where the defender was in perfect position a good two or three steps in front of the defender, who then barreled into him only to be rewarded with a block call.

That is NOT my understanding of how that call should be made even under the most generous interpretation of the new rules. I am completely in favor of preventing defenders sliding under a driver, but wiping out the charge call altogether would mean that any driver willing to risk the physical consequences can launch himself headlong into a defender and always count on being bailed out. That would not do much, IMHO, to reduce the violence in the game, which is what led to the changes in the first place.

Rest assured that we are not the only ones who are concerned about this. The relevant authorities will get LOTS of feedback from coaches and the conferences. It will take some time for the refs and the players to figure all this out, and eventually it may lead to a more aesthetically-pleasing, less dangerous, and higher-scoring game. The worst thing about it for the Vols is that they have a tough opener on the road where the home team usually benefits anyway. I just hope they can keep their composure, play through perplexing calls, and hope the opponents suffer to a similar degree.

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