College Basketball Isn't Broken; We Fix it Anyway

By Michael Citro on November 14, 2013 at 4:15p

The 2013-14 college basketball season is upon us. The NCAA has put new rules in place to try to improve the game. Surprisingly, they only had to ask me if they wanted to make the game better. But that ship has sailed and I couldn't stop the new hand check rule.

Don't look so surprised, Aaron. These ideas will fix everything.Aaron Craft...from the 4-point line?

Still, if we’re going to do this, the least I can do is make a few suggestions, which I’m sure the NCAA wouldn’t dream of completely ignoring and possibly even consider banning me from attending all future events.

The following suggestions are free of charge, NCAA. Use as many or as few as you like. You’re welcome.

It’s about time. Let’s start with an easy one. Nobody likes when TV takes advantage of a timeout with 12:15 on the clock by going to commercial. You’re getting your media timeout at the next whistle. Stop making the game less watchable. It's the equivalent of football's terrible commercial-kickoff-commercial format.

No more jump ball. Hey, if the NCAA wants free throws (and it really seems like they do this year), let’s just alternate from the foul line and the first team to 70 wins. They’re calling everything now and despite the party line, I don’t see players completely eschewing all contact. These extended games with a thousand free throws aren’t going anywhere for a while. Might as well just turn them into free throw contests for real and save everyone’s ACLs. As an added bonus, it will eliminate the possession arrow, which is stupid and random.

Eliminate the circle. No, I don’t want to get rid of the only spot on the floor that should make it obvious whether a foul is a charge or a block. I’d just prefer a more stylish shape. A rhombus would be outstanding.

Bring back the short shorts. Hey, just because you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean the players are. If tiny shorts were good enough for Jerry Lucas, they’re good enough for you. Besides, Michigan made those damn baggy shorts popular and we can’t let Ann Arbor set the trends. The game needs more female fans anyway.

Add another arc. The four-point shot. It’s time. Sure, it'll be weird at first, but the three-point line was new once, too. Besides, Trey Burke and Jordan Taylor are gone. Embrace the change.

Ditch the sleeves. I mean, if we’re going back to short shorts, there is no place for those ugly sleeved jerseys we saw last year, especially with the pseudo-camouflage look.

Declining the penalty. Teams with lousy free throw shooters shouldn’t get penalized when the other team hacks them to extend the game. We’re just penalizing the wrong team here. Give the team that was fouled the choice of whether to take the freebies or to inbound the ball.

HODOR! HODOR HODOR! HODOR!Better analyst and more varied in his approach than Dickie V.

Power plays. Don’t like the above suggestion? No problem. A team leading in the closing minutes that gets fouled gets to put a sixth man on the court during the ensuing possession by the other team. You want back in the game? None of this rinky dink hacking stuff. Earn it like a MAN, bro.

Incentivize the offense. Give the school a financial bonus if it reaches certain point totals. Score a hundred points and the school’s athletic department can fix up the locker room! That ought to jump start the offense.

Consequences. There are few plays in basketball that are simultaneously as hilarious and as awful as a blown slam dunk. Missing a dunk should be a two-point penalty. Not only do you not get the basket, but two points come off the board. Dunks are for fun and aesthetic value. Screwing them up hurts everyone.

Replace Dick Vitale with Hodor. Seriously, you’re not going to get intelligent analysis from the cartoonish Dickie V. With the right inflection, Hodor from Game of Thrones can convey everything you need to know and without stepping on his broadcast partner. Bonus: he’s way less annoying and he represents the noble House Stark, even if he’s not a blood relative.

Technology. We won’t have TV Teddy Valentine or Ed Hightower to kick around forever. It’s time to make animatronic versions. It’s not like they could do a worse job of officiating, right? RIGHT?!

Ethnic food. Free fries are nice, but let’s face it, free tacos rule. And lower the number to make to 60, because free tacos shouldn’t require work, unless you’re playing Wisconsin.

More incentives. Miss four consecutive free throws, you’re out. Come on, man. If you can’t hit one out of four from the stripe, you’ve forfeited your right to play college basketball — at least for one night.

Chair of shame. If someone dunks in your face, you get to sit in the Chair of Shame by the scorer’s table for one minute. The coach can replace you on the floor, but you don’t get away with only a few seconds of feeling bad. Let’s milk it for a full minute of game time. Think of how many people would be trying to dunk to humiliate their opponents. Of course, as we learned above, if they miss, there will be consequences.

Well, those are my suggestions, NCAA overlords. Feel free to adopt as many as you like. Let's hear your ideas in the comments below.


Comments Show All Comments

albinomosquito's picture

I would watch this.

zisbal's picture

I hate watching a 30 minute free throw competition at the end of some games. So:
If a team commits a foul in the last two minutes of a game, the other team can elect to take the ball out of bounds instead of shooting free throws. In the last minute of the game, the offended team may also elect to have ten seconds ran off the clock in addition to shooting free throws/taking the ball out.
A team should not gain any advantage by committing fouls.

BuckeyeMark's picture

I hear you and agree... but how are teams going to get back in the game if they are behind?  Fouling is basketball's version of onside kicking.  Take that away and you aren't going to see many teams lose a lead.
You can argue that a team doesn't gain an advantage by committing fouls.  THEY GET TO SHOOT FREE THROWS.  That's a pretty cool "reward" for being fouled, if you just make them.
If this was adopted teams would start learning how to vigorously press the inbounds pass.  What else could the team that is behind do?  So how long till someone says "you get a free throw, or an inbounds or ... how about a FREE inbound? A team shouldn't gain an advantage by fouling, you know!"
Shoot your free throws and this isn't an issue.

zisbal's picture

#1 - An onside kick is not a penalty (illegal).
#2. - Give me some examples in other sports where a team can benefit by committing a penalty.
#3. - If a team is "just a little" behind, they can apply legal pressure. If they are "way" behind, too bad for them.

Ethos's picture

this is what is wrong with basketball. if you are losing, then you LOSE! what a concept!  if you are losing by 5 scores because the other team defeated you on the court you shouldn't be allowed to cone back by essentially cheating your way back into the game. you want to come back then start playing the actual game. no more teams that are actually worse then other team getting the "upset" in the last 2 minutes because they fouled their way to the win. that is simply the dumbest thing in sports. 

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Ethos's picture

 to add to this, this is why I can't watch a entire game.  why bother?  all I have to do is turn on the last 5 minutes and I didn't miss a thing!

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

ibuck's picture

A team should not gain any advantage by committing fouls.


Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

HYDEYOKIDS's picture

The change really is terrible. What do you think the chances are the rules get changed back or at least amended?

alust2013's picture

I am all for some sort of rule that would keep teams from turning the last 4 minutes of a game into a 45-minute hackfest. That fouling nonsense is the most irritating strategy in all of sports, made worse by the fact that it works maybe 1 out of every 50 times. I think if a team fouls a player not in the act of shooting inside the last two minutes of the game, they should give the fouled player either 2 free points or 3 free throws. I also dig the power play idea. 

...and Michigan still sucks.

ibuck's picture

Not every sport has to resemble mixed martial arts. I am all for retrieving the game of basketball from looking like indoor football with dribbling, so I support the "new rules," which should restore a beautiful game to what it used to be. I'd at least like to see a full season, to see how players adapt, than changing or even tweaking the new rules. 
I'd favor the idea that fouls in the last 2 minutes would allow the offense to choose to have possession or shoot 2 FTs. That would also restore the game from drawn-out hack-a-shaq endings. And I would not object to giving the offense that possession in the backcourt, alone (no defender), where he could either pass the ball or just dribble into the frontcourt within 5 seconds. That would give no advantage to fouling to catch up.
I also like Citro's idea to eliminate the official time out (every 4 minutes) if a 2-minute time out by either team happens within a minute before it.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

schnaible5's picture

"Hodor," said Hodor.

dja.ohio's picture

Being able to decline the foul shots and inbound the ball is an interesting idea.

RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

Get this man on an NCAA committee! I don't even care what the committee is for, but it needs to happen pronto!

Deadly Nuts's picture

How about being able to choose your FT shooter in the last two minutes when a intentional foul is committed?


bucksfan92's picture

My rule changes:
I hate the possession arrow, bring back the jump ball.  
Get rid of the semi circle, just another thing the refs don't need to be bothered by
Take the shot clock down to 30 or 25, 35 is still a lot of time that allows teams to play keep away instead of basketball (I'm looking at you, Wisconsin)
Quit taking time outs before foul shots.  Why should the team that fouled be given an advantage?

Bugsyk's picture

I'd like to see the 5 second guarding rule knocked down to 3 seconds.  It'd mitigate no hand-checking foul shenanigans by forcing people to pass more.

Buckeye1004's picture

"A rhombus would be outstanding."
I'm still giggling!  That's funny!  I don't care you are!