FORT WAYNE – Purdue and Indiana will be playing by new rules when they tip off their seasons today.
So will the rest of college basketball.
Teams have had an exhibition game or two to prepare for changes to the NCAA rulebook on defensive hand-checking and alterations to the charge call.
The NCAA Basketball Rules Committee proposed the new rules in May.
They are meant to increase scoring and discourage overly physical play.
Touching a ballhandler with both hands, bracing against an opponent with a forearm or using an arm to block progress toward the basket are all fouls now.
Some of those things were called in previous seasons when the aggression by the defender was blatant.
But now, Purdue coach Matt Painter said, the officials will be calling a lot more.
That gives a distinct advantage to the offensive player.
The incidental contact where you’re barely touching a guy, when the dribbler’s initiating the contact and they’re calling that as a foul – those aren’t fouls, Painter said.
I think they’re being told now to almost call it all.
If you continue to do that, you’re not going to have the best players playing in the games, you’re going to have longer games.
Those worries have already been validated.
Teams that are not yet used to the new rules have had fouls soar into the 60s and beyond in exhibition games. And some of the officiating, like the play, has been inconsistent.
IU committed 12 fouls in its opening exhibition game against Southern Indiana, and the teams combined for 35. Monday, the Hoosiers and Hillsdale racked up 49 fouls in 40 minutes.
IU Tom Crean said the new calls will play a big role in the early part of the season for college teams.
The game is up for grabs because the game is being called so differently, he said after the 40-point blowout of Hillsdale.
There’s going to be some wild, wild games the first month of the season, and we want to do everything we can do to be creative, be innovative, be fast, but be disciplined.
Supporters have said the changes shouldn’t matter if players play defense the right way: by moving their feet, keeping their bodies in front of the ballhandler and not reaching.
But as Painter said, not all contact is on the part of the defender.
He worried that teams will drive at players in order to draw that incidental contact and earn a whistle.
We want to go out and beat somebody, Painter said. We don’t want the No. 1 thing to be a free-throw contest. We want it to be in our execution, our ability to defend.
That being said, if it doesn’t change, we’ve got to change with it.
To some extent, both the Boilermakers and Hoosiers already have.
IU guards Yogi Ferrell and Stan Robinson, as well as Purdue guards Ronnie Johnson and Bryson Scott should benefit from the new regulations.
Ferrell, a sophomore, and Robinson, a freshman, both have quick first steps and have already shown a knack for drawing contact.
Johnson also has that kind of quick-twitch speed, and Scott, a Northrop graduate, has a mix of speed and power that can force him through opponents and to the foul line.
Who makes the adjustments? Crean said.
Who understands it best? Who can apply it and then retain it as they go through it? Those are the teams that are going to be successful.
The Hoosiers and Boilermakers both hope they’ll be the type of team that can weather the early part of the season and the touch calls that could come with it.
Coach is always emphasizing using the new rules to our advantage, Ferrell said after the Hillsdale game.
I knew I drew a couple fouls just driving by guys.
More than a few, actually.
Hillsdale averaged a foul every 42 seconds of game time against IU.
Hopefully, this is an extreme measure at this point, and then it lessens, Painter said.
There’s not a coach alive that doesn’t talk about playing defense with your feet, being in good position.
These are things we emphasize every single day and we worked on every single day before, and we’ll do it after these rules.