Count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban among the many disappointed with the state of college basketball, as he said the slowed-down style is leaving prospects unprepared for the more high-octane NBA game.
"If they want to keep kids in school and keep them from being pro players, they're doing it the exact right way by having the 35-second shot clock and having the game look and officiated the way it is," Cuban said Wednesday, per Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. "Just because kids don't know how to play a full game of basketball."
Cuban's points, while harsh, do have some statistical merit. As Brian Phillips of Grantland pointed out last month, college basketball scoring is down to its lowest rate since the pre-shot clock era. Teams nationwide have increasingly slowed down the game, grinding out possessions and taking advantage of the 35-second shot clock.
Three of this year's Final Four teams ranked outside of the top 200 in tempo, per KenPom.com. The lone exception, Duke, ranked No. 114.
"It's horrible. It's ridiculous," Cuban stated. "It's worse than high school. You've got 20 to 25 seconds of passing on the perimeter and then somebody goes and tries to make a play and do something stupid, and scoring's gone down."
By contrast, Cuban said the NBA changed its rules when going through a similar situation. The game's fluidity has increasingly defined NBA basketball since the league eliminated all forms of hand-checking before the 2004-05 season. Backed by analytic data, increases in space and spikes in three-point shooting have also become prevalent across the league.
Cuban isn't the only prominent name to throw barbs at the style of play in men's college basketball. Connecticut women's head coach Geno Auriemma called the men's game a "joke" and said college basketball in general is not doing enough to re-emphasize offense.
"The bottom line is that nobody can score, and they'll tell you it's because of great defense, great scouting, a lot of team work, nonsense, nonsense," Auriemma told reporters. "College men's basketball is so far behind the times it's unbelievable. I mean women's basketball is behind the times. Men's basketball is even further behind the times."
While the NCAA has yet to comment on the specific criticisms offered by Cuban and Auriemma, change could be coming sooner rather than later. The governing body experimented with a 30-second shot clock in the NIT and CBI tournaments.
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