Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
This may be one of the only plays in the November 9 game between Niagara and Seton Hall where someone wasn't called for a foul. Marcus Ware (No. 21 in black) got a clean block on Seton Hall point guard Jaren Sina's layup attempt. It was one of only four stuffs in the game.
Meanwhile, the referees dragged the game out to roughly the length of the first two Godfather movies by calling 73 fouls and awarding 102 free throws. Strangely, neither figure set a national record. For that, we must go back to Arizona vs. Northern Arizona on January 26, 1953.
So, with games like this going on all the time, teams must be averaging around 28 to 30 fouls per game, right?
Kevin Pauga of KPI Sports crunches the numbers multiple times per week and computes the effects that the new defensive rules are having on the game. Through November 19, scoring was up to 73.7 points per game, which would be the highest average since 1994-95. That satisfies one aim of the NCAA's defensive crackdown.
But what about fouls? Surely coaches are having to press walk-ons into service as half their roster fouls out. Again, not so much.
Teams are currently averaging 20.7 fouls per game, an increase of roughly 17 percent, or three fouls per game over last year. It's a noticeable jump, and that average would be the highest since 1953-54. Still, there are plenty of games being played that aren't endless death marches from one foul line to the other. Teams are currently averaging 24 free-throw attempts per game, a far cry from 50.
If your team's getting into extensive foul trouble and its games are becoming interminable slogs, the real culprit may be your team's defense. Continuing to play defense with slapping hands instead of moving one's feet will result in a lot of talented players watching more ball than they play.
After all, the officials are doing their jobs. Once your team learns to play better defense, the games will level off.