MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—The majority of the coaches in the Big 12 and around college basketball are fans of the new rules changes for the upcoming season. But West Virginia University head coach Bob Huggins shares a different sentiment.
Earlier this month the NCAA approved multiple rules changes to men’s basketball for the 2015-16 season, including a 30-second shot clock and fewer timeouts for each team.
After months of debating how to increase scoring and speed up the game, the men’s basketball rules committee decided to cut the number of timeouts each team can use in the second half from four to three and eliminating any extra stoppages by using any timeout called within 30 seconds of a media timeout as the scheduled break.
The five second shot clock change would theoretically lead to more possessions and create more scoring opportunities.
The firey Huggins voiced his displeasure for the changes to the game during a Big 12 coaches’ conference call on Monday.
“I thought we had a great game,” Huggins said. “I don’t know why we’re doing what we’re doing. You watch the NBA Playoffs and it comes down to throwing the ball to the best player in the world and letting him play. You think about the guys we consider the great coaches of all time and they ran great offense. They really controlled the game with their offense and I think the more and more we reduce the shot clock, the more and more the best players are always going to win. Can’t run a lot of offense.
“You’re going to come down and run a quick hitter into a ball screen or spread everybody and drive it. I think everybody’s tired of watching 40 free throws a game but it’s going to end up that. That’s just the nature of what it is when you have to spread people and not run offense.”
Huggins doesn’t think molding NCAA hoops to that of the NBA is the right choice for the game.
“I’m puzzled with the infatuation with the NBA,” he said. “We keep going in that direction (but) I think we have a game that’s a lot more pleasing to the eyes. So I don’t understand why we continue to go that direction.
“There’s something to be said for people who do a great job of guarding and playing in the half-court. “
The Mountaineers’ coach doesn’t believe his team will benefit from the change and could be affected negatively.
“We pressed to kind of speed people up. We needed to speed the game up and we needed to be able to score with numbers because we weren’t a very good half-court team,” Huggins said. “I don’t think it helps us at all.”
While Huggins is displeased with the new rules changes, other coaches in the Big 12 support it.
“I think it helps everybody,” TCU head coach Trent Johnson said. “It was time for a change and from the standpoint of everybody saying we need to play faster, I think that will help it. More than anything, the kids want to play fast.”
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford is in favor of the shot clock change but didn’t support the change that forbids coaches from calling live-ball timeouts.
Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith followed Huggins on the conference call.
“I’m sure he doesn’t believe in climate change or anything else either,” Smith said.
According the ESPN, the move came as a result of data showing a drop of approximately five points per game last season.
Other rule changes include the arc underneath the basket being extended another foot from three feet to four feet. Coaches will no longer be allowed to call timeouts during live ball situations, and with only a few exceptions, teams will get just 10 seconds to move the ball past half court instead of resetting the clock if there is a stoppage.
According to the NCAA rules committee chairman and Belmont coach Rick Byrd, the NCAA tried the new shot clock and restricted area rules in the 2015 NIT and data suggests that scoring and possessions were not negatively affected.
Teams will now have 15 seconds instead of 20 to make substitutions when a player fouls out. Officials are encourage to start play more quickly after timeouts. If teams do not comply, they will be issued warnings and each additional offense will result in a one-shot technical foul.
Referees can now use replay reviews for potential shot clock violations on baskets throughout the game, and they can penalize players for faking fouls, making Class B technical fouls such as hanging on the rim and delay of game one-shot infraction instead of two, removing the prohibition of dunking during warmups, eliminating the five-second rule when a player is dribbling and experimenting with a sixth foul during next year’s lower-tier postseason tournaments.