The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced rule changes for the 2013-14 men's and women's basketball season intended to increase scoring and tempo of game-play, according to its online announcement.
The changes in rules include a redefined rule on the use of hands-on defense in both leagues and a limit on time spent before crossing the half-court line for women. Now, using the hands and arms to slow down offensive players will result in a foul, while taking more than 10 seconds to bring the ball past half court will be a turnover for the women's teams.
Both men's head coach Chris Mooney and women's coach Michael Shafer support the rule changes and expect a positive impact in scoring numbers across college basketball after a transition period for players and officials.
"I think they're great," Mooney said. "I think it's good for the game long-term, but it's going to be tricky during the course of the season. You're going to have games with tons of foul shots."
The fouls have gone up in the Spiders' first two games of the season and will continue to do so, Shafer said, but he believes that if the officials keep the calls consistent all season, the players and coaches will make adjustments quickly.
"If we want the scoring to increase," Shafer said, "freedom of movement, ball driving and cutting is what you need. And to call that from now until March, I think that will be accomplished. The bottom line is players want to play. If they get called for fouls now, they're going to figure out a way to not get in foul trouble."
Shafer said if the officiating doesn't stick to the changes, college basketball would remain stuck in the problems the rule changes were made to correct.
"If they call fouls now and not in December," Shafer said, "the game's going to go back to where it was. It's kind of a grind. It's not pretty. It's ugly and low-scoring and looks kind of like a wrestling match."
Senior guard Kristina King said the intended increase in speed and offensive had been noticeable early this season. King said the 10-second back-court rule had led to a lot more press defense, causing teams to need to move the ball quickly or risk a turnover.
"As far as the hand-check rule, it's allowed us to attack more on offense," King said. "Attacking the basket a lot more has drawn a lot more fouls from our opponents."
For the men's team, senior point guard Cedrick Lindsay has also seen help from the rules on the offensive side of the ball, though he said he was concerned about foul trouble having a negative impact.
"I definitely think it will help get edges and help people to score," Lindsay said. "Hopefully, [the fouls] won't get too bad that some of the guys people come to games to see aren't in the game."
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Both coaches and senior guards expect to see a lot more zone defense during the season to prevent fouls, and the teams have been focusing on the rules all offseason to prepare for the 2013-14 season.
"We've had referees in practices three to four times a week," Mooney said. "We've just really been trying to get accustomed to what's going to be called and how to better position ourselves."
Mooney and Shafer both said they hoped to see a much more fluid game with open movement when the officials, coaches and players adjust to the changes for the season.
Contact staff writer Jeremy Day at firstname.lastname@example.org
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