B/R CBB Community: What's One Thing You Would Change About Men's College Hoops?

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystDecember 23, 2021

Why do we let a possession arrow determine whose ball this is?
Why do we let a possession arrow determine whose ball this is?Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Men's college basketball is my favorite sport, but it is far from perfect.

With a few rules changes, though...well, it would still be nowhere close to perfect, but maybe it would be less frustrating.

Some rules need tinkering.

Others need to be thrown into an incinerator.

On Tuesday, we asked our B/R app users to tell us the one rule change they would make if given that power. 

Here are some of the submissions that stood out.


The Possession Arrow

@yikeswow: Jump ball possession arrows are stupid. If the offensive player gets held up, it should be a turnover; not based on some arbitrary possession arrow.

It has been 40 years since college basketball first implemented the possession arrow to settle jump-ball situations, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the past 40 years who considered it a good idea.

I will say, I appreciate the fact that possession is not determined by an actual jump ball. While it would be hilarious if Maryland's 5'11" Fatts Russell tied up Purdue's 7'4" Zach Edey and then had to try to somehow out-jump him, it wouldn't be right to penalize guards for being scrappers.

Even if it were a jump ball and each team was allowed to choose any of its five guys on the floor, well, then you're penalizing teams for playing small ball and/or rewarding teams for having a giant at center. Either way, it's no good.

While I agree with the notion that the defense should be rewarded possession for forcing a jump ball, the biggest drawback to that has always been deciding what to do in the more chaotic situations in which neither team is really on offense.

I'm not talking about two players grabbing a rebound at the same time. Let the tie go to the defense when that happens. I'm talking about something like: ball gets deflected or fumbled, six bodies hit the floor as the ball bounces/rolls around, and the shot-clock operator has no clue what to do as five seconds pass without anyone having clear possession. For situations like that, the possession arrow still makes sense.

Generally speaking, though, yes, destroy the possession arrow and award the aggressive defense.


Halves Instead of Quarters

At any other level, there would have been 1:26 left in the third quarter.
At any other level, there would have been 1:26 left in the third quarter.Lance King/Getty Images

@NaimTheDream: It's ridiculous that men's CBB is the only level of basketball that doesn't play with 4 quarters SMH.

Amen. A thousand times amen.

It can be cool when different levels of a sport have unique rules. However, this unique-to-men's-college-hoops rule serves no purpose other than turning games into glorified free-throw shooting contests for the final half-hour of real time.

If the NCAA is adamant about sticking to halves for no apparent reason, at least reset the team fouls at the midpoint of each half. Because it is ridiculous when one team is already in the double bonus with, like, 13 minutes left in the game.

My guess is that the biggest reason college basketball has stuck with halves is because of the media timeouts.

Right now, teams get a little breather following the first dead ball after the game clock ticks down to 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00 in each half. Switch to quarters and the game ends up being played in eight five-minute segments as opposed to 10 four-minute segments.

Sure seems like a minor adjustment that could be made to promote better flow in the final five minutes of games, though.


The Eternal Block/Charge Debate

Brady Manek attempts to draw a foul on Oscar Tshiebwe.
Brady Manek attempts to draw a foul on Oscar Tshiebwe.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

@its_jas1: The charge calls. They are wrong 90% of the time and teams abuse it to dictate the game when their defense isn't good enough to compete on that end of the floor. It's been an eye sore in college basketball for the last 2 decades.

This feels like a response to a "Tell me you hate Duke without telling me you hate Duke" social media prompt.

But he's not wrong. The charge/block debate has plagued men's college hoops for longer than I can remember.

Here's what I've never fully understood, though: The NBA has more or less the exact same charge/block rule without anywhere near the controversy. Like, football has issues with what constitutes pass interference and what is actually a catch, but it's a problem at both the collegiate and professional level.

Why is the charge/block only terrible in college hoops?

Is it because the pros aren't interested in getting bowled over in hopes of winning a judgment call? Is it because guys driving the lane in the NBA have better body control and a much better mid-range game to avoid contact and hit those running floaters with regularity? It is because the officials working the NBA are light-years better than the ones working the college game?

Probably a combination of all three, yeah?

Whatever it is, it's a problem that we've been begging them to fix for decades.

And I think the simplest solution is to make the entire painted area the restricted area.

The arc directly beneath the hoop was a nice starting point, but you still constantly see guys leaving their defender and setting up shop with their heels a millimeter outside of that arc in hopes of drawing a chargeand getting rewarded for it all the time. The arc needs to be bigger, and I say just make it the whole lane.

You'd still see guys flopping along the perimeter, but that stuff is much less of a problem.



@ghill87: Players can't leave until after Jr. year just like football.

I'm not going to devote much time to this one because that's an NBA rule rather than an NCAA rule, but I do wish we could take a baseball approach to the draft in that you either go straight out of high school or you have to stay in college for multiple years.

Because there is no question whatsoever that it is better for fan engagement when players stay for multiple years. Even if it's just a mandatory two years, it was awesome when Jared Sullinger, Miles Bridges, the Harrison Twins, etc. came back for a second season and everyone already knew who they were.

We're potentially going to experience that next season with Emoni Bates at Memphis, as he isn't going to be old enough to enter the 2022 NBA draft. However, we'll have to wait and see if he actually plays another year of college hoops or opts for the G League/international approach.


Too Many Foul Outs

Purdue's Matt Painter has figured out one solution to early foul trouble: Don't play your best player for the first few minutes.
Purdue's Matt Painter has figured out one solution to early foul trouble: Don't play your best player for the first few minutes.Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

@md49505: Give them 6 fouls.

I've thought about this one a lot over the years because there are few things about this sport more frustrating than having a marquee matchup ruined by a star player getting into early foul trouble.

However, I don't think simply increasing the individual foul limit to six is the answer. Heaven knows there are already enough free-throw attempts in men's college hoops, and giving everyone a longer leash for hand-checking and shot-blocking wouldn't help.

One idea I've come up with is allowing each team to "erase" one personal foul per game.

We would have to figure out the logistics of whether the foul has to be erased by a certain point in the game or whether the coach can wait to use his "free play" card until the moment a guy fouls out, but it would significantly reduce the impact of a ticky-tack foul against a key player without opening the floodgates for more fouls.

Alternatively, maybe we could kill two birds with one stone by changing the disqualification rule from "five personal fouls" to "four defensive fouls." In other words, offensive fouls would still get called and would still count as turnovers, but they wouldn't bring a player any closer to fouling out. It would allow the best scorers to remain aggressive, and it would at least remove some of the incentive of trying to draw charges.


Video Reviews

@donald1: Coach should be able to review any call, one a half. Lose it and take a timeout.

I am 100 percent on board with making literally everything reviewable, just so long as we don't start reviewing literally everything.

The catalyst for this column idea was the controversial ending to the Alabama-Houston game on Dec. 11, in which it looked like Alabama's JD Davison might have committed basket interference with less than a second remaining in a one-point game.

I think the referees got it right and that it was not goaltending, but here's the absurd part: It was not a reviewable play because they did not call it goaltending on the court; however, it would have been reviewable if they initially did call it goaltending.

The reasoning for that is there's a natural stoppage to make a review if a whistle is blown. But the game doesn't stop for a no-call, and the NCAA is not going to erase everything that happens in the interval between the no-call and the next stoppage.

But, like, make an exception when there's one second left in the game and/or allow a coach to stop the action by using a challenge.

Unless the replay monitor is broken, anything and everything should be reviewable. If we have to sit through a three-minute review of a possible hook-and-hold situation on a near-nightly basis, we should at least make sure the correct calls are being made in crunch time.


Kerry Miller covers men's college basketball and college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter: @kerrancejames.