The House of Blue

The home for all discussion on UK athletics


Why do scores seem to be so low this year?

  • I believe that scoring is a matter of talent that is able to operate at levels of quickness to gain an advantage that the talent should expose. More talented teams want to pace quicker because the decision making must be quicker, and the talent will have demonstrable advantage over lesser talent that makes more mistakes when having to react and decide more quickly. Less talented teams want to slow the pace, slow the decision making, and reduce the number of scoring opportunities for its more talented opponents. As the data show, it is not so much about how much time teams use to take their shot, as the quickness of the maneuvers that they operate while doing it. What did John Wooden emphasize? Players should be quick without being fast, or something like that.

    There are exceptions to this general rule of course, such as UNC's obsession with the 4-corners prior to the shot clock to shorten games once the Tarheels held a "safe" lead. They used their superior talent to gain that lead, and the four corners to secure it, regardless of the points scored. That approach forced their opponents to play defense for a vast majority of the game's minutes, and unless the defense was willing to play out on the floor to force the action, the Tarheels (Dean Smith) was perfectly content to win 4-0. But when a defense extends itself, it is more prone to mistakes, which is what Smith wanted to force. Then there were the more common examples of coaches taking the air out of the ball because they have a talent deficiency, and simply want to neutralize their opponent's superior talent.

    At the other extreme, it seems there have always been a few teams with lesser talent determined to simply try to outscore anybody they played. (The Hal Mumme approach to basketball). But, the vast majority of college basketball games operate at a pace that is governed by the ability of the players to make the right decisions, and execute them at the fastest possible pace. If the pace gets too fast for a team, it will make more turnovers, and allow more open shots by its opponents.

    All coaches say they want their teams to run "when we can" yet the majority of them pull back on the reigns of their teams because they realize that they don't have the talent levels to run at will. The Sutton "7 pass" rule is one demonstration of this. Some coaches choke off their own talent simply as they try to control what occurs on the playing floor, even when their talent level is superior.

    All of that said, I believe that the decline in pace we may be seeing is a likely consequence of an overall watering down of talent levels in the college game. Therefore, overall, teams have to slow down the processes. I can't show any data to support my view, because if I could I would, but my perception is that these things correspond to the trends that are more societal than sports, for the kids who can play at a higher level moving to the NBA either directly out of high school or as it is now, after they pay their dues of 1 year in college purgatory. So long as the one year rule operated in a manner that the 5 to 10 kids that could make that move in one year were dispersed throughout the college game, their presence was absorbed into the college game strategies, and they could operate within that system and more on. When Calipari began to concentrate 50% of more of the annual high level talent pool onto one team, the opponents have to react by changing the game. It has become a physical war to neutralize the dominant advantage in talent. The officials have allowed to war to rage out of some sense of protecting competitive balance, e.g. the present day level playing field thing.

    So long as the officials allow players to hold, push, bump (more intense that bumping), etc. the game will remain ugly, and for this fan less pleasurable to watch. I don't like that type of basketball, and I would prefer a game that I used to describe as a finesse game.

    These are my personal thoughts about the state of the game that we all love.

    EDIT: One last point, I believe that if a team wants to force a faster pace, it must do that with its defense, not its offense. Forcing the opponent into mistakes, by forcing quicker decision making in their offense leads to turnovers, and quick scores on your offense. Lax defense allows that weaker team to take its time in working for their shots without the quick decision making. Time per possession should decrease with more effective defensive pressure as the superior talent wins those individual battles.

    This post was edited by TheProfessor 17 months ago

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  • I don't think you need to revolutionize the rule book just go back to the original rules where a foul is a foul. Basketball was not designed to be a contact sport. When you let so much contact go on you ruin the pure athleticism that should give basketball its uniqueness. Watch an old game and you will not see much contact. Can you imagine the excitement if you had a game where contact was nearly gone and the athletes got to show off their stuff. I blame the officials and coaches that teach rough defense. Get back to the pureness of the game and let the athletes do their thing and it would be a totally different game to watch. Some games are just boring anymore Uks included.

  • If they won't do away with the slide in charge do away with the call completely. Body checks and hand checks are fouls on guards, period. If you so much as reach out and touch a guard on the perimeter it's a foul. If you don't call that a foul let the ball handler push off with his forearm like they're currently taught.

    I'd also like body fouls around the basket called, but that likely is not to change. That's fine IMO. Just watch a Big East game and their guards, or even Big Ten, and that is what defenders at the guard position should not be aloud to do. I don't need to explain the Duke charge BS. Coach K might be a great coach but he ruined part of the game at the same time with that shit.

    Moving picks need to be called on a consistent basis. I watch a ton of CBB and it's piss poor everywhere. I'll also note what another poster said bc he's a ref on the HS level, a foul is a foul. Philosophy of advantage is not the right way to go about the game. If they want to go about it that way eliminate refs and allow players to call there own fouls.

    Lastly, fire crappy referees like Jim Burr instead of rewarding them. Recruit refs like a legitimate job and promote the top talent. Do all you can not to lose that talent to the NBA.

    I'm so tired of this epidemic I've began watching more NBA this year than CBB besides UK. I hate to admit that.

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  • That's what I meant, but I articulated it differently. To return to the original rules would be a revolution. It needs to be done.

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  • Agree with all. I'm very sickened at the level of the play and think you guys have some good suggestions. The level of play in the SEC is absolutely god awful this year. Its been declining for several years now but its hit the pits this year. I can't even enjoy half the games we play just because the level of play is so horrendous.

  • The one and done rule is killing coll basketball. Your top talent leaves after one yr and teams have no chemistry. How many points do you think UK team from last yr would be avg this yr ???

    Coll basketball is as soft this yr as I can remember. 30 diff teams could make the final four this yr period

  • Professor I think the very last paragraph hits the nail on the head. Look at what Pitino did when he first got here. We had short pretty slow players but Pitino speeded up the game by applying full court pressure for 40 minutes. The games they won were generally decided in the final 6-8 minutes of the game b/c the opposing team was very tired and UKs superior conditioning took over in that last 6-8 minutes, at least thats how I saw it. Those 1st couple of years the team lacked depth but they all were in vastly superior condition, even Richie Farmer than the teams they were playing. I like to watch a few teams in particular b/c they use full court pressure to force turnovers and deplete their opponents energy. That 1st year that Pitino coached here IMO was the best coaching job any coach has ever done considering the talent and athleticism and depth that was available to him. Most coaches would have won 4-6 games period but thats not what happened.

  • Your absolutely correct about the SEC being terrible. How many teams from the SEC are ranked, Fla. thats it 1 team. That is the poorest showing I can remember in a long long time. The SEC has never been a very good top to bottom conference but 1 team ranked that almost brings me to tears. You used to be able to depend on 4 or 5 teams make the tourney but this year how many will actually get in. UK and Florida may be the only 2 to get an invite. I thought earlier that Ole Miss would be a lock for a bid but their recent collapse has put that in doubt, I think that the conference will get better b/c we have some good coaches but they havent had the time yet to develop, but I think they will. KY and Florida will always be good but in the next year or 2 LSU,Alabama,Tenn. and Miss. along with Missouri and Arkansas will be knocking on the door of the NCAA tourney on a regular basis.