Even though this year’s NCAA championship game between Louisville and Michigan was one of the best title contests in years, college basketball as a whole could use some upgrading. This is not a flippant judgment by some cranky outsider. My comments come from a sincere concern for the direction that the collegiate game is trending.
And I'm not alone.
Basketball analytics expert Ken Pomeroy points to the gradual slowing pace of the game:
From this year to last year, the pace of the game isn’t really that much different. But you look over the course of a decade, and it’s kind of gradually decreased year-by-year. It’s finally getting to the point that we’re seeing record lows of scoring because of it.
The Boston Globe’s Ron Glier gets even more specific:
In early February the 347 Division 1 men’s basketball teams were averaging 67.7 points a game, the lowest since 1982 (67.6). The final season statistics have not been calculated by the NCAA, but considering scores tend to drop in February and early March because games are more competitive, the national scoring average could drop to its lowest figure since 1952.
The Associated Press’s Paul Newberry points out that:
This season, teams are taking an average of 55.2 shots per game, which is roughly on par with the past few seasons but pales in comparison to the 1950s, `60s and early 70s, when the average was generally in the high 60s.
More than simply trying to find ways to put more shots in the air or points on the board, specific steps need to be taken to improve the quality of play. Adjustments to some basic rules are the quickest way to have a positive impact.
Here are four college basketball rule changes that would, without a doubt, make a difference.