Sunday, January 19, 2014

CBS Checks in on the foul emphasis

So, CBS Sports has looked at the foul emphasis and they have a long article about it.  It is pretty interesting.  Fouls per game are going down, but you're going to have to win an argument about whether defenses are fouling less or if the refs have tightened the grip.

Scoring is up, year to year....4 points per game per team, and points per possession is up about .03, which doesn't sound like much but it is significant.  They are a little less than 2 team fouls per game more than last year, all of which suggests that defenses are beginning to adjustl

The most interesting thing is looking at the weekly data they compiled.  Essentially, while points per possession has remained stable, the total number of possessions has steadily dropped and with it the points per game.  I don't understand why.  Fouls have dropped as well, but you'd think an open floor will bring quicker baskets, but apparently that's not happening.

Which, in the end, means that the NCAA is not going to get what they wanted with this emphasis.  Scoring is continuing to languish.  My prediction is that the next thing they try is to bring the shot clock down again.

That might or might not work.  Here's the thing...what if the real issue is that the players are not skilled on the offensive end of the floor?  Reducing the shot clock could make the problem worse.

The re-focus on the fouls was the right thing to do for the game.  Whether it gets the results the NCAA wants is another matter.  It may be that the lower scoring games are how things are going to look.

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