Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bill Self: College game needs work

Kansas head coach Bill Self takes a knee to talk with some of the freshman during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

Kansas head coach Bill Self takes a knee to talk with some of the freshman during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.


The demise of college basketball appears to have been somewhat exaggerated.

As critics of the game point out, scoring was down in 2014-15 and amount of possessions per game also lagged a bit, but overall TV viewership — fans’ interest in watching the sport that has been called a “joke” by UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma — is up.

It was recently reported by “TV By the Numbers” that ESPN’s 36th season of college hoops was its second-most-viewed in history — just a few thousand viewers below the previous high set in 2013-14.

Also, the NCAA has indicated the 2015 NCAA Tournament has had its highest average viewership in more than 20 years.

Still, most agree imperfections do exist.

“I think our game is not quite as good as what it has been,” Kansas University coach Bill Self said recently.

As the Indianapolis Star pointed out in a story at, scoring this season was down 3 1/2 points per game.

Also, the paper reports the average college men’s game included 1.7 fewer possessions than a year ago.

“The game is more physical than what it has been. Me personally, I’d like to see the clock lowered (from 35 seconds to 30), see some things where there are more possessions,” Self said.

“The thing that is a little discouraging is not length of game, but pace of play. Possessions per game is at an all-time low. We need to do something to spice it up. It’s for people smarter than me to figure it out.

“It’s still a great game. We’ve got to be able to do something to help it. Look across America with other sports ... baseball has done radical things to help the game. Football has done things to help the game. We’ve made attempts, but have not had the success we thought. Hopefully we can come up with something to make the game better,” Self added.

Aside from shortening the shot clock five seconds, Self suggests, “Eight seconds (instead of 10) to get it across (halfcourt). If there’s timeout in the backcourt, you don’t reset to 10. If there’s a foul in frontcourt, don’t reset to 35, reset to 18 or whatever. Reduce the shot clock. The biggest thing is, we’ve got to call fouls. It’s hard to call fouls when everybody fouls every possession. Somehow we’ve got to get some absolutes like handchecking up front. That will create situations we learn to defend in a way that allows more freedom of movement. When that occurs, I think the game will get better.”

Self, who preaches in-your-face, man-to-man defense, said part of the reason scoring is down is simply, “Bad offense. I think a lot of it is, it’s easier to coach defense than offense, and a lot of times it’s easier to stop people than it is to exploit people. I think a lot of coaches feel that way.

“Here is the philosophy: The other team can’t score, you can’t lose. And you can control your defense and your rebounding and things like that. You can control that a lot easier than you can control execution and making shots.

“I think it’s hard to win games because people give up less easy baskets. One stat that you can look at, and one reason why numbers are down, it appears to me there’s less transition in college basketball than what there appeared to be in years past. And of course with less transition, there’s obviously fewer possessions.”

Most fans seem to agree it’s more fun watching point guards push the pace rather than walking with the basketball.

“Our players’ skill sets, I don’t think, is quite as good. I think it’s generally going down in large part because we don’t have as many good players playing, many great players playing the college game as what we’ve had in most of the years past because none of them stay past their sophomore year,” Self said.

Self is in favor of letting players enter the NBA Draft right out of high school but would love for those who do attend college to stay two years.

He said he believes games still can be entertaining for those watching on TV and paying the price of admission and donations to get the best seats possible.

“The product is still great. You know, you go through phases of time in baseball, home runs are down or home runs are up, and football scoring is down or up. That’s just kind of the way it happens,” Self said. “But I think the rules committee has done a good job to promote the right things to give offenses not an advantage, but if it’s run right and executed right, that you would have an advantage over somebody that’s not as sound defensively.”

Storming issue: Kansas State president Kirk Schulz told ESPN’s Andy Katz that the Big 12 will address the issue of court-storming at its spring meetings in a story available at Schultz said he believes court-storming should be allowed after games, but opposing players and coaches must be protected.

Self was pinned at the scorer’s table, and Jamari Traylor was charged by a KSU fan after the Wildcats’ win over KU on Feb. 23 in Manhattan. It’s possible the Big 12 could copy the lead of the SEC and fine schools that allow court-storming.


Michael Lorraine 7 years, 4 months ago

Fix the referees. College basketball has the worst officiating of all the major sports.

Jerry Walker 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly...the worst.

Out of position calls...3 point shooters kicking their leg out or outright faking to get the call...driving players launching themselves pell-mell out of control and drawing fouls when they fall down...inconsistency...too much fraternal chatting between refs and coaches...and homerism.

But the absolute worst part is choreographing foul calls ala the NBA...meaning if it simply looks like it should be a foul to everyone in the arena then a foul is called. When replays clearly show the defender whiffing on a block attempt or contact was non-existent...and not by just a little bit.

Blaming the speed of the game or that players are just bigger and faster are BS excuses. There is no "legitimate" supervision or accountability. It's an inbred good ol' boy network where poor officials don't get weeded out...they pile up seniority.

You're right, Michael...the worst.

Ethan Berger 7 years, 4 months ago

And don't forget about moving screens. They aren't even called and it hurt us a lot.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

Can't find anything worth arguing here. CBB is rapidly losing relevance. March Madness still brings in the viewers but loses out to hockey the rest of the time their seasons overlap.

Fixing the refs is a good starting point but far from fixing the all the issues.

John Myers 7 years, 4 months ago

Rapidly losing relevance? Did you miss the part about this being the second most viewed college hoops season in ESPN's history?

Benz Junque 7 years, 4 months ago

You couldn't be more wrong. More people are watching college basketball than EVER. There are tons of games on and tons of gamers to attend and both numbers are UP. It doesn't matter what the ratings are fro specific games, games are largely regional affairs any more since everyone can now see the team they cheer for on TV in some fashion. When we were kids there were a few national broadcasts and that's all you had to watch so the ratings for those few games was bigger overall. Apples and oranges.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

March Madness did great but I clearly stated that CBB is losing fans over the regular season.

Jim Johnson 7 years, 4 months ago

They need to figure out what a foul is and who initiated the foul. The shooter shooting and jumping into the defender has always been a bad call. There are several others but that is the worst in my opinion.

John Myers 7 years, 4 months ago

Miami got hosed on one of those in the NIT final against Stanford. I hate that call too.

Robert Brock 7 years, 4 months ago

The good players don't stick around long in college basketball; they are off to The League at the first opportunity - especially the kids with offensive skills. CBB amounts to stiffening defenses designed to stop a rapidly diminishing number of good-quality offensive players. With all that NBA money being thrown at marginal-skilled kids...the problem will only get worse. No continuity. Lousy offenses. Rules changes won't help solve it.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

If anything, the refs in the NFL slow down the game. Too mach reliance on reviews and not enough on the judgement calls can hurt the flow of the game,. There are times when nobody makes the call until checking the monitor.

I'm not against reviews but even when obvious, they take too long.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

This would slow the game down even more. I do not think fouling would stop, they would bet you would not make your free throws.

Not sure this is the trade off I would make.

Calvin Miller 7 years, 4 months ago

The NFL simplified the calls for the refs, particularly for pass interference. They took the "judgement" by the refs out of the game. Same thing needs to happen in college basketball. Eliminate the hand checking an body checking and call those as fouls, instead of relying on a judgement call by a ref.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 4 months ago

All anyone needs to do is re-watch last night's Wisconsin v KY game. The Badgers put a team of upper class-men, none of which were McD AA, on the court. For the most part, they played great O/D to beat a team some were calling amongst the best ever.

It should be obvious to everyone the NCAA/NBA should adapt the baseball way of doing things. Until a baseball type situation is implemented in basketball all those tweaks, such as going to 30 seconds or 8 seconds, will not amount to anything.

I'd like to see Kansas put a team on the court like the '11-'12 KU or this year's Wisconsin teams.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

So to fix the College game you suggest they change something they cannot change, and not do it till 2017 when the CBA in the NBA opens up? How exactly do they do get that done?

How did MSU do last night by the way, they had an experienced, team 9 Juniors and seniors, and got drop kicked by 20? Wisconsin played a great game but this is their first trip to the National Championship in 74 years. Not sure I want to, or can wait that long for a return trip for the Jayhawks.

A shorter clock increases possessions and can be done immediately without any costs to teams. Moving the 3 point arc, increasing the lane size, and the charge arc to international levels will increase spacing and reduce fouls. This will be costly to Div. 2 and 3 schools but needs to be done.

Organizing the officials and paying them better, reducing the number of games and training them will create a more consistent officiated game. This will be costly to Div. 2 and 3 teams.

The college game needs some tweaking, everyone in the game knows this but due to costs and since the Div. 2 and 3 teams control 90% of the rules committee it is highly unlikely anything will happen soon.

Vernon Riggs 7 years, 4 months ago

NCAA could change the scholarships rules instead of changing the age rules. Make initial scholarships for two years and then renewable year by year. If a player leaves before the two-year mark, the school can NOT replace the scholarship. If you had 5 OAD's in one season, then the next season, you have five less scholarship to give. It doesn't stop the OAD, it just spread them out more.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 4 months ago

The next CBA in the NBA needs to correct this OAD mess.

Between now and then, the NCAA needs to take some actions. If needed, the power conferences plus should break away from the NCAA to fix the game.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 4 months ago

Other than some of the fans of some of the more elite programs does anyone see this as a problem? Bill Self doesn’t seem to think so. Neither does the NBA or NCAA and certainly the networks don’t mind. My preference would be to eliminate the NBA rule and draft them out of high school or into the D league. Not that it would resolve the issue completely but in its current form, the OAD rule has made a complete mockery of amateur athletics.

Benz Junque 7 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately when you have a team like '12 with four seniors, it is followed by a team like '13 with 4 freshmen if you have any hiccups with recruiting or transfers. That is where Kansas finds itself. They didn't CHOOSE to not have any seniors on their team recently.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

A usual Benz, wrong again. Kansas was a 1 seed (two overall), two of the freshman were redshirts including BMac (our best player) and two walk-ons. The ONLY true freshman was Andrew White. AW3 would have been a Sr but KU CHOSE to run him off.

This team STILL returned FOUR Sr.s and ONE Jr. It had more experience than the 2012 team. A 1 seed BOUNCED... Sounding familiar?

Bill Kackley 7 years, 4 months ago

I totally agree about the officiating. It is terrible. Changing one rule to call the foul on the player instigating the contact would go a long way towards helping the game. Would also like to see 30 second clock, put in and the other things mentioned such as 8 sec. time line and resetting the clock to a shorter time would be helpful.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

But the refs don't see the instigator or they would give them the foul. Do you want the refs to review every foul.

I agree Bill that it isn't fair but the players need to learn when to retaliate out of the sight of the refs...

Benz Junque 7 years, 4 months ago

The last thing we need is MORE rules for the refs to call inconsistently. We need a national governing body for the referees to try to get some semblance of continuity and consistency. They are not accountable AT ALL for their performance and are terribly inconsistent. Players have no ability to adjust to how the game is called because it is called differently very 10 minutes.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 4 months ago

Part of the problem is the ease of making 3 point shots. Change it to NBA distance which will spread defenses further to defend out to the line and open up some lanes. Also it makes those players that can't shoot from 23 ft to learn to do other things better. Skills are diminished when players focus on just standing around and shooting 3's.

BTW, a Brandon Greene issue. When he is open he is great, but creating his own shot is not yet his forte. Maybe because he is tall and most defenders were always shorter than him. He needs to work on it. This is why whiner CF, had he stayed, although shorter, is a better player at this point. CF had to learn to create space for his own shot. His step back jumper was hard to stop in the NCAA's last year and will be the reason why he will have success at WSU.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 4 months ago

Based strictly on the eye test it appears to me considerably more fouls are called in recent years than used to be. That would certainly slow the pace and possibly affect scoring. I'm not commenting on phantom fouls and missed calls, just on the number of fouls called per game. Anyone have the facts?

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Never been so happy to be so wrong about Kentucky getting beat. What a great win Wisconsin I hope you win the whole thing now!

Darren Martin 7 years, 4 months ago

like it or not something has to be done with this 1 year college rule. its hurting both the college game and the nba.. the nba is watered down with kids that don't even know how to run a proper pick and roll . they have to learn how to hedge on screens. its just getting bad. both products are starting to suffer bcoz these kids don't stay in school long enough to learn how to play the game. most aau teams just play run and gun ball. kids play the aau circuit and don't bother working on the fundamentals of the game..

Tony Bandle 7 years, 4 months ago

Oakville JHawk; Great suggestions, everyone:

1] Shorten the time clock and the time to cross halfcourt.

2] Mandatory two year stay in college if not drafted out of high school.

3] Higher pay, more thorough training, better and, most important, CONSISTENT refereeing.

4] NBA three point line.

5] My spin on Brett's suggestion - go ahead and make all non-shooting fouls from 7 on, 2 shots, however, after 15 team fouls, make it three shots, thus cutting down some of the drag-out-the-game fouling at the end.

6] Let the stars play and make the maximium fouls at 6, like the NBA.

My personal favotire would be have two live balls but something tells me Doc Naismith wouldn't approve.

Poor, poor Kentucky...38-1, a Southeast Championship and a Final Four and their entire season is a complete failure.....what a bunch of chuckleheads!!!!!

Patrick Bryant 7 years, 4 months ago

Why even regulate a 28 second shot clock? You have 28 seconds to get from point A to point B. The back court violation has always puzzled me. Rush to cross a line and then grind to a halt?

Dale Rogers 7 years, 4 months ago

And/or call intentional fouls in the last minute when it is subjectively obvious to the official that the foul was committed intentionally. Fouled team gets two shots and the ball.

Ross Hartley 7 years, 4 months ago

The 10 second clock would be my preference if time clock is reduced to 30. 8 seconds wouldn't speed up much but would add to turnovers. Larger lane circle seemed to work in NIT. Take away all non-shooting fouls as that would highly penalize fouling. Don't make them all 2 shots though as 1 and 1 for the first 10 before double bonus would put more emphasis on good foul shooting. NBA 3 point line is a good idea. Encouraging the NBA to change rules would make the NCAA game played by more offensively skilled players. My favorite would be direct to pros from high school or spend 2 years in college. Those that aren't superstar talented could actually benefit from 3 years of college training. I believe the refs are mainly a problem because they're not given clear instructions. They should crack down on hand checking, moving screens, too much rough play inside including backing down and secondary charges after a feed pass.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 4 months ago

I wish they would change the format of the tournament. Allowing everyone in is probably why it is so popular but I would prefer it model something similar to college baseball so a team can lose and still not get eliminated. Something closer to a true playoff format would insure the winner is truly the best team.

Mike Barnhart 7 years, 4 months ago

Officials should instill a new philosophy; Never assume, if you you don't see it, don't call it. Presumption of fouls needs to be discouraged.

Sean Swindler 7 years, 4 months ago

1) Shorten shot clock to 30.
2) Shorten time to get it to half court to 8. 3) Reset clock to 22 if fouled past half court line, instead of 30. 4) Intl 3 point line (should open some lanes) 5) Coaches each get a monitor review to use. Otherwise, none. 6) Intentional fouls count 2 against player. If player has 4, other coach gets to designate who on the other team takes the extra foul.

Rick Meyer 7 years, 4 months ago

I like a lot of the ideas mentioned to make the game better. With that said, you have to have kids you can coach. The product out of high school has diminished greatly. They've been told since they started the game how great they are. Many believe it. Many will regret the reality of The League and how short their careers will be. Even though I agree with the two year minimum college route.....schools will have to add quite a few more easy classes just to keep these kids eligible to play.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 4 months ago

That whole "special" classes situation, i.e. UNC, needs to stop now. Stronger academic requirements are needed. I'm all for the basketball degree but stop with the fake classes.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 4 months ago

Fixing the One and Done rule.

Without a contract, there is no real constitutional way to say that a 18 or 19 year can't play in the NBA. But soon college players will be paid and that could introduce a new purpose in life for the NCAA. Players should be allowed to sign a contract straight out of H.S. with either the NBA or the NCAA.

NCAA College contracts would all be for the same amount of money and the same amount of time (2 years). If you don't sign with an NBA team then you would sign a 2 year NCAA contract to play for the NCAA at the school that wishes to give you a scholarship. All players monthly salaries would be paid by the NCAA guaranteeing that all NCAA players are compensated the same. As usual the NCAA would monitor violations and could punish with suspension or loss of contract. If you fail to honor the contract, leave or transfer from your school early, then as agreed you would not be allowed to sign or play with another school or the NBA until your contract is done. At the end of two years, you can try the NBA, sign another 2 year contract to play at your school if the scholarship is still offered, or transfer to another school offering a scholarship. Red-shirting would be eliminated. A non-compete would be included in the contract. Players attempting to jump early to play in another league or failing to fulfill their contracts would be held liable for scholarship, and all other costs and damages.

Walk-ons would sign just one year contacts since no scholarship is being offered but would be paid the same as other players.

Schools would have to pay money into the NCAA at the beginning of each semester the amount of money required to pay the players based upon the number of players on the team.

Benz Junque 7 years, 4 months ago

Eh, what? An organization is 100% able to collectively bargain the terms and limits of entrance to their organization with a union that represents the workers for said organization. The workers agreed to this. They can't whine about what they agreed to.

Ben Simonett 7 years, 4 months ago

Bill your PROGRAM needs work. stop focusing energy on the larger game and get your house in order first

Nick Cole 7 years, 4 months ago

Some ideas...

  1. Shot clock to 30. Foul under 18 it goes back to 18, foul 18-30, no change in shot clock.
  2. NBA 3 point line
  3. No more conference officials. NCAA hires officials for all games (like professional sports). Therefore they can all be held to the exact same standards (or lack of standards, we are dealing with the NCAA after all).
  4. 6 fouls per player instead of 5 (keeps better offense in game more = more points)
  5. 4 time outs per team instead of 5

...but nobody asked me.

Joseph Bullock 7 years, 4 months ago

making the back court rule an 8 second count is a great idea, as is not resetting the count for time outs called in the back court! reducing the shot clock to 30 seconds is also a great idea. I am a former ref (High School, and College), so I see things a lot differently than most fans. I am objective, and don't blame the refs, every time we lose, but I will say that many games, I am just shaking my head, at some of the calls that are made, and many that are not made. For instance, when the Kentucky player made the blow to the head of the Wisconsin player, and all 3 refs went to the monitor, and said there was nothing to call-they should never ref an NCAA game again! it was a blow above the neck, and there is no way they did not see it on the reply.
also, there is no way the Power Conferences are going to drop the NCAA. they considered that, with football, and the NCAA gave them what they wanted, so they stayed with the NCAA. Football is the big money sport, and that is what matters the most, to the Power Conferences! Did anybody know that most D-1 Basketball programs lose money (or at least that is the way it was a few years ago (I haven't checked, recently).

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