Analysis: Rule changes to hamper havoc

Head coach Shaka Smart believes the rule changes will fail to hinder VCU’s havoc once the Rams get acclimated to the new calls.

Bobby Gary
Contributing Writer

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved 28 changes to men’s and women’s basketball involving certain calls and reviews for the 2013-14 basketball season. A decreased national scoring average prompted the adjustments and free throw attempts are expected to increase as a result.

Though some recognizable coaches including Louisville University’s Rick Pitino have commended the new rules, the modifications could have a negative effect on VCU’s havoc style of play.

Among the most notable modifications is the change in how the block and charge calls will be made. After the recent revisions, a defensive player is not allowed to enter the path of an offensive player once the ball handler has initiated an upward motion to attempt a shot or pass. Previously, the defender had to be in legal guarding position by the time the offensive player’s feet left the floor.

Beginning this season, referees are also instructed to pay added attention to some of the current rules. More consistency in foul calling is expected when:

•  A defender keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent.

•  A defender player puts two hands on an opponent.

•  A defender continually jabs by extending his arm(s) and placing a hand or forearm on the opponent.

•  A defender uses an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent.

Additional changes have been made to monitor reviews and elbow rules.

Division I teams averaged 67.5 points per game a season ago, the lowest average since the 1981-82 season, according to NCAA.com’s Greg Johnson.

VCU men’s basketball finished 11th in the country in points per game last season. The Rams averaged 78 points per contest.

As a result of the revisions to monitor review, referees will now able to use the monitors to determine which player committed a particular foul. Previously, the monitor was only used to determine who would shoot the free throws. The monitor can also now be used in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime periods to determine shot clock violations

If there is a question as to whether the shot was for two or three points in other parts of the game, the referee can now signal the scorer’s table and have the shot reviewed during the next media timeout.

All of the adjustments are designed to allow for more offensive freedom, which doesn’t bode well for the Rams, who have made a living on points off of turnovers in the past. VCU led the nation in steals last year, forcing 422 over the course of the season and averaging 11.7 per game, the

With players like Briante Weber, who was fifth in the nation with 98 steals in 2012-13, the Rams certainly will have to adjust but will the rule changes take havoc out of the equation?

Head coach Shaka Smart says he isn’t worried. He believes the changes will actually play to VCU’s advantage in the upcoming season.

“The NCAA and other coaches are concerned about the decline in number of average points scored in a college basketball game. Our points have gone up,” Smart told fans at the annual basketball tip-off dinner. “We’re not gonna change our style of play. We’re just going to play with a little more discipline.”

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