• I’ve had a long, hard day at work. I’m tired. I’m driving home and all I can think about is a plate of grub then jumping in bed for a long snooze.

    I’m driving too fast. I always drive fast at 6pm. It is my time to race home.

    The light is green. It just turned green so there is no reason why I should slow down as I approach it. If I do slow, it might flip to yellow and I’m stuck wasting another 2 minutes of my life… when I’m tired!

    What am I gonna eat tonight? Frozen pizza? Frozen burrito? A little easy pasta…

    Oh… whaaa… oh, no!!! OH F$%K! (Semi-truck is running the red at high speed and about to smash me into bits. He must be thinking about frozen pizza, too!)


    WRONG! I’m here to tell you about the worst crash in world history, and it is coming our way in March of 2014!

    No… it isn’t the plummeting stock market! No… it isn’t a horrific sunami approaching the coast! No… it isn’t frozen oranges in Florida getting ready to spike the price of orange juice!

    It is the NCAA March Madness Madness! It’s going to crash! Basketball fans are going to jump out their windows!

    This is like watching in slow motion… a crash coming in our near future! And no preventive measures taking place now to prevent it. No mumbling from the NCAA Head Office on how the officiating is going down in March!

    So fans are wondering now… what is going down in March? We experienced the beginning of this year with all the tick-tack fouls being called… fouling out players left and right, putting teams to the free throw line for eternity… extending games so long our home DVRs missed half the game… completely destroying the continuity of games… ending real defense…

    The sports media and NCAA spoke with the same drum: “college players would have to adjust their games.” The contact had been getting too rough. All those hand checks were causing injuries… like sprained fingers. So players and coaches studied their options. How can we win with these new guidelines? How can we best take advantage of the changes so we can win more games? They noticed that defense had largely gone away. The charge call (as they knew it) had become obsolete. If an offensive player even thought about driving, the defensive player would have had to already be set in position. Not realistic rules for defenders. But it wasn’t put in place to create defense. It was put in place to DESTROY defense! And it did an excellent job of doing that! Or did it? Players and coaches are competitive. They want to win and they know they can’t win consistently without some defense. So how would they defeat this impossible rule that went against the defense picking up a charge call? The undertone to the changes mentioned the safety of the players. Hmmmm… So if the defender were to say… fall down and get hurt… the rule interpretation might start bringing back the charge call for the defender! Brilliant strategy!

    Around this time, league play had begun across America. Now the games counted! No more experimental lineups and playing out the entire bench. It was time to buckle down and win games. Officials felt the heat of coaches and home crowds from across the country. No one wanted all the tick-tack foul calls any longer. So they had to bend but not break. They backed off and started allowing hand checks again as long as the dribbler wasn’t impeded. And now half of college basketball was flopping all over courts like catfish just pulled into the boat! And every flopped player was suddenly hurt! And then players like Marcus Smart realized that offensive players could flop, too! And he proved just how effective it was (and is). And why not go for the grand prize of them all… the flagrant2 call! Suddenly, Marcus Smart’s neck became so bouncy he earned the name (and song) “Rubberband Man!”

    When Marcus started rubbernecking in games Oklahoma State was highly-ranked. Teams from across this great land started watching OSU games to see what they had. And what did they have? They had an actor that was capable of winning over 3 to 5 possessions a game by flopping. They had an actor capable of having another player thrown out of a game, or at least attracting an extra foul and putting Marcus to the line for 2 shots and the ball out! Suddenly, Marcus became Professor Smart… teaching players from around the country on how to play Smart basketball!

    As conference play has played out, the drive to win games grows stronger as league champions are making their way to the top of their conferences. Players from across the country are putting their acting skills into practice. They are getting results. They are winning games because they split away from basketball practice to attend acting practice! Meanwhile, officials are taking out more time to go to the monitor to study the play. This is eating college basketball away like cancer!

    So here we are… about a month out from March Madness Madness… and it is quiet. The storm is brewing, but it is quiet now. No one is talking about it. No one is planning for what is to come. No one is yelling, “hey, watch it! That semi isn’t hitting his brakes!”

    I’m changing that now. I’m letting the Jayhawk Nation (and the entire world) know…


  • @drgnslayr this makes me want to throw up!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Me, too!

  • @drgnslayr

    Amen to that!!!

    Players are starting to take pride in their flopping skills. DeAndre Kane in an interview indicated that he does not mind Smart flopping because he does it himself. Really? and I mean REALLY???

    Coming to a College Arena near you, the Marcus Smart flopping show. You saw him successfully flop all over the land and his most recent outing he almost completed a double flop. Come and see him successfully complete a double flop and maybe a historic triple flop. Don’t miss the chance to see the standard by which all floppers are judged.

    This is what College Basketball has come to…Un-effing-believable.

  • @JayHawkFanToo you just made me throw up again!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Get used to it; the best is yet to come…

  • @JayHawkFanToo do you see us adjusting to this, ever?

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    You got that right!

    Kane = Smart

    …and now… did you see Syracuse vs Duke? Boeheim must record all of Okie States games and use for training purposes!

    Heaven forbid… but college ball now has the capability of repelling as many fans as the NBA did!

    Hell… let’s just add another 70 games to the season… give each player 6 fouls… end all school music for the pop elevator music… make zone defenses illegal…

    At least the league lets them play some defense.

  • It’s like everything else in this society. When the bottom can’t reach the bar, lower the bar.

    The NCAA wanted more offense. So restrict the defense.

    Why not just have an extra 6th man on offense?! He can only go to the half court line, and he always stays on offense!

    I can’t even be serious anymore… because the NCAA took something that wasn’t broken and they changed it… to broken!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Wel…I think there will be a serious rethinking and retooling of the rule at the end of the season. If the Tournament ends up being as @drgnslayr predicts, there will be a backlash and the rules will likely tweaked closer to what they used to be. In any case, you have to adapt and learn to play with existing rules, otherwise you are at a distinct disadvantage.

    If I were a betting man, I would bet that flopping will seriously be reviewed at tend of the season, to the point that, after the game reviews, could result in post game penalties to the offending party. Since you cannot punish the players financially, like the NBA does, potential suspensions for egregious and repeated flopping could be in the future. Maybe you get a warning for flopping and after a second warning you get a one game suspension, or something along these lines.

  • @drgnslayr

    I always say…

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    and more importantly…

    If you can’t fix it, don’t break it.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I meant, can we, Jhawks, adjust in time?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    One of the things I used to admire about Coach Roy Williams is that no team would beat us in the second half; he could always make adjustments to correct the problems. Coach Self is a better version of this. If you look at the 5 games we have lost this year, we have won the second half of all those games (tied with Colorado); so obviously he knows how to make the adjustments he needs to do.

    Early in the season there were people here second guessing him and saying basically that he no longer knew how to coach. Of course he adjusted, got his players to play Self-ball and prior to the Texas game, KU was playing better than anyone else in the country. Undoubtedly UT was setback that exposed weaknesses, but he will adapt and adjust and will continue wining games at a better rate than any other coach in college BBall. He has done it before and he will do it again. I don’t think he will ever encourage or condone flopping.

    Trust thy-Self.

  • Early in the year I said the pendulum swung to far in the opposite direction. Some of these games seem okay, and some are ridiculous. It scares me to think what we will see from the refs in March. I just hope the refs KU gets are okay.

  • @JayhawkRock78

    Too bad Ed Hightower retired. He was drama queen but he officiated the finals in both '88 and '08…so he was good luck for KU.

  • Did not know that. Nice info for a trivia question.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Wikipedia proclaims that Hightower officiated 12 Div. 1 Final Fours.

  • I am going to agree and disagree with slayr’s persuasive take.

    I am going to agree that the game is slipping into a new equilibrium strategy; i.e., if the refs are going to determine the game with fouls, then you are playing the refs as much as the opponent and so you want get the most FT by driving and by flopping. I also concur that the amount of the fouls called on the guy guarding the driver is forcing the big into ever more creative (and more sudden) XTReme Muscle fouling that is NOT being called.

    So:where do I disagree?

    I disagree that it was not broke; that basketball officiating was working the past several season.

    The past several seasons saw a fairly steady decline in scoring, because every offender was being body checked and bludgeoned on most plays. It also also the corresponding emergence of the low skill, high bulk, butcher baller reach a zenith. And there was the rise of XTReme Cheap Shotting as a counter measure for the hand checking and body checking. And there was the predictable stretches of the half where the whistle was swallowed to fit the game back in a short broadcast window. So: we witnessed the utterly bizarre phenomenon of two teams feeling each other out like prize fighters for 5 minutes while the refs called a few fouls to feel like they were setting the tone for the game, only to have the two coaches signal their teams that it was time to take the gloves off for the next 5-8 minutes while the refs swallowed their whistles to make sure the game fit in the broadcast window; then when the game had been sufficiently shortened, then the foul calling started up again. And so on. THE GAME WAS UTTERLY BROKEN, BECAUSE THE OFFICIALS WOULD NOT CALL THE GAME BY THE RULES.

    Now back to this season.

    The broadcast windows appear to be stretched to allow the extra length of games where more fouls were going to be called. But this season the refs call the game incredibly tight outside and around the man with the ball. And the coaches respond by adapting ball driving strategies geared to force the refs to call lots of fouls. With both teams scheming to force the refs to call fouls, the total fouls called quickly stretch the game out to the edge of the new broadcast window. So: what happened? The coaches quickly realize that at some point once again the refs have to swallow their whistles on certain kinds of fouls, or the games will never get over. Since the refs have been explicitly instructed to curb the fouling on the ball, the coaches have adopted a strategy of drawing fouls on the ball and fouling ever more egregiously away from the ball.

    Tied up in this is also the flopping phenomenon, but also something more undesirable. Since referees are human the more situations you can create for them where they have to make a choice between a call with a positive, or indifferent crowd response, and a harshly negative response, the more chances their are to use the current on ball foul calling and the current off ball non fouling calling to your advantage.

    In previous seasons, there was only two switches on a single variable: not calling fouls at all versus calling fouls. This favored the home team some.

    But now there are two switches on two variables. There is on off for off ball fouling. And there is on for on ball fouling. This means the ref is being confronted with way more foul call choices than last season. And each tie the call is not cut and dried, the ref subconsciously favors the home crowd.

    So: what are we to infer from this?

    First, all rules changes trigger a new equilibrium strategy between coaches.

    Second, coaches will always bend the rules as far as they can.

    Third, you do not want to create rules changes that force the referees into even more non cut and dried calls, or more minutes of the game where they have to look the other way.

    Right now, what is going on is that coaches are figuring out that refs are largely looking the other way the entire game on off ball fouls in order to fulfill their precept of calling the on ball game much more tightly.

    Things are getting egregious now on the off ball fouling and they are getting egregious in the favor of the home team, because the coaches know that the refs don’t want to call ANY off ball fouls they don’t absolutely have to call. So: they let a call go like the one on Embiid, because there will be no crowd furor and the game will smooth onward despite the butchery, but they call the egregious fouls by the road team.

    In turn, coaches adapt by fouling more egregiously at home and less egregiously on the road, except when they finally decide they HAVE to dish out pain and then they REALLY lower the boom.

    I am not so sure anything terrible will happen in the Madnness. It will be an exaggerated version of the regular season vices, just as in the past it has been an exaggerated level of whistle swallowing over the regular season. The best teams at bending the rules this season will have the biggest advantage, just as the best teams at bending the old rules had the advantage.

    I still stick with my old solution which was to call the rules inside and out, on ball and off, the same from beginning to end, but set the games at fixed lengths in which the clock never stops.

    I believe that will solve most of the problems and reward the most athletically gifted players and the most skilled players over the butcher ballers and the floppers.

  • @jaybate 1.0

    I agree with much of what you are saying. The whistle was swallowed to let the game clock run out so programming could go on.

    The game was losing points for several reasons. There is total defensive freedom in college ball. Pros can’t play full out zone. College coaches have been investing more in defense over the past decade or so because they realize defense wins championships. Coaches like Self, who win a ton of games, is noted for defense. Others follow.

    Look back 20 years in college basketball and you would never hear the term “lock-down defender!” 20 years ago teams didn’t play nearly as good of defense, and the offense wasn’t typically as prolific either. The game has developed, and the development slightly favored defense over the last 10 years.

    There was plenty of contact in college ball… hand checks… did it reduce the scoring? Maybe a touch. But not to the point where you flip the game on its ear to counter it.

    Half of these guys playing college ball think they should go on to pro ball. Well… pro ball has plenty of hand checks. It has plenty of everything, including body slams at the rim. The old college game prepared these guys better for what is to come. It was still a much softer game of basketball. Most freshmen playing college ball can adjust. Few of those players are ready to adjust to NBA-style basketball… or Euroball… or anything where they will draw a paycheck.

    Personally… I never minded a guy giving me a stiff hand check. It gave me several options. I could usually swat his hand check which sometimes slowed him down. Or I could absorb his hand check and use it later to tie up his one hand to prevent him from blocking my shot. Another thing… it helped me know where exactly he was concerning my spacing. Scoring space is sometimes calculated down to only an inch. I was never a prolific scorer. But I was respected at my level of ball and my numbers wouldn’t have been any different if hand checks were not allowed… let me revise that… my numbers would have been higher because I would have shot more FTs and I could nail FTs!

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