LARNED — There is a timeless and appropriate quote from the POGO cartoon strip that goes, “We have met the enemy ... and he is us!”
Rather, he is the referees, or more accurately, the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee.
For the 2013-14 college basketball season there is a new officiating emphasis being placed on no bodily contact from a defensive player. The idea was to clean up the rough play, the hand-checking, that was turning the game into a wrestling match instead of a game of skill.
We’re only a couple of games into this new season and already I can tell you that I don’t like this rule change.
Like so many ideas from bureaucratic organizations, what seemed like a good idea turns into a nightmare. They’ve turned the basketball games into just free-throw shooting contests.
In the Champions Classic on Tuesday evening from Chicago, Kentucky played Michigan State and Kansas took on Duke.
In the two games 108 fouls were called in 80 minutes of basketball. 108!
It is rumored that the refs had to send out for more whistles because the ones they brought with them had overheated!
Think of it. That means that a whistle tweeted every 44 seconds! That doesn’t even account for the tweets to stop play for timeouts, traveling calls, jump balls, out-of-bounds calls and if the refs needed a potty break!
Kansas made 11 more free throws than Duke. Not surprisingly, the Jayhawks won by those 11 points.
Yes, Kansas was the better team that night, but Holy Pogo, you’ve got to be a fanatic or a masochist to enjoy that kind of basketball!
These games are taking 15-30 minutes longer than normal to play. The KU-Duke game was advertised for an 8:30 p.m. television time. It was 45 minutes later when they got to it following the 55 foul-infested marathon between Kentucky and Michigan State.
The NCAA Basketball Rules Committee has shown us both sides of the pendulum: defensive players being allowed to “mug” the guy with the ball and, now, the defensive player not even being allowed to breathe heavily on the offensive player.
Both are wrong.
How hard can it be to give us something in the middle that doesn’t destroy the continuity, the flow of the game that is so fun to play, so fun to watch?
If I want to watch a free-throw shooting contest I can get that at any practice. Come on guys, lighten up. Pogo is watching.
CHALK TALK — Just when you thought that KU’s Andrew Wiggins was going to play the entire season without ever breaking out of a trot, he flashed a little of the ballyhooed talent that he possesses in the second half against Duke. One thing we learned, KU IS NOT a one-man show! ... Why am I not surprised at the arrest of the Chiefs’ perfidious wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe for possessing marijuana? ... Not ALL former coaches make good television commentators. In fact, MOST of them don’t but networks keep feeding them to us. This past week I was reminded of that as I caught former Sooners head coach Billy Tubbs on a broadcast of Oklahoma vs. Alabama. He was better as a coach! ... The Chiefs and the Broncos in a “Biggie” in the Mile High City on Sunday night. Denver 30, KC 24 ... West Virginia 33, Kansas 27 and Rozel’s Gary Patterson gets a rude welcome back to Manhattan as the Wildcats are on a roll. K-State 27, TCU 17 ... You know why women don’t play football? Because you could never get 11 women to show up anywhere wearing the same outfit!
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned