Man's Game: The ACC Is Physical, but Doesn't Cross the Line

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Man's Game: The ACC Is Physical, but Doesn't Cross the Line
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke and Wake Forest played another classic physical ACC game Sunday and many were ready to proclaim Monday that the conference is too physical.

The Raleigh News & Observer had a column on that very debate Sunday morning. So is the ACC really too physical?

I say no.

You first have to examine what it means to be too physical. This isn't your grandfather's college basketball anymore.

Players are much bigger, faster, and stronger. It has been some time since the game stopped being about just finesse and started being a contact sport.

But there is still a fine line between too physical and just being a contact sport. When players maliciously attack another player with fists or make no effort to go after the ball, then you've crossed a line.

Look at the Duke-Wake game for instance. Was it physical? Yes. Were there some violent collisions? Yes, but none appeared to me to be overtly intentional.

There were two fouls in question, one on Duke freshman forward Mason Plumlee and the other on Kyle Singler. Both fouls were made on drives to the basket and both ended up with Singler and Plumlee laid out on the floor.

But were either of these hard fouls committed on purpose? I don't think so, or at least I don't believe they were made with the intent to cause harm.

The speed at which the game is played will result in players who fly at one another ending up on the ground. So when a 6-foot-8 guy flies at the rim and another guy of equal size or strength meets him there, then the laws of physics naturally come into play.

The worst of the two fouls was probably Singler's and that wasn't even called an intentional foul. In both cases it appeared as if the Wake player was going after the ball. Hitting a moving target is tough to do, even in basketball.

Sure, both times the Wake player appeared to be going hard and you knew there was going to be a collision, but I saw nothing dirty about it.

If the ACC is too physical, then so is every conference in the country. If referees start calling every contact a foul, you might as well increase the number of fouls for disqualification because entire teams are likely to start fouling out in a 40-minute game.

Can the refs do a better job of keeping the game clean? Yes, they can, but the pace of the game should be dictated by the players and not the whistle.

So is the ACC physical? Yes it is.

But is it too physical? I'm not so sure.

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