WVU Gameday Blog

The saga continues



Stop me if you’ve heard this, but college basketball rules may be affecting West Virginia’s pressing defense.

We know by now that a full-court press is a handful for officials, and we know the Mountaineers have chirped about traveling out of traps and five-seconds calls much like we know opponents have voiced their thoughts about playing ugly and persistent contact and uncalled fouls.

We’ve also witnessed how hard it is on officials to adjudicate fairly and consistently, and for some reason it’s the rulebook that changes while the guys with the whistles do not, even though changing the rules further stresses the officials. Last year, we thought we were welcoming either relief or clarity in the form of a “cylinder rule” that was implemented to give defenders — and let’s be honest, WVU defenders — equal rights.

Curtis Shaw is taking us through the new officiating stuff for the season. The “most controversial” is the elbow rule. An offensive player establishes a “forearm vertical” personal space that a defender cannot invade. If the offensive player establishes and then swings through and hits the defender, “he has a bloody nose and a foul,” Shaw said.

So no more of the defender crowding the ball handler and then taking one in the head to draw a foul. That said, if an offensive player establishes and goes out of the cylinder and creates contact, that’s a foul on him.

In October, Bob Huggins appreciated the arrival of the rule even if he was dubious about the application. By February, he was over it and tired of seeing his players close in on a ball-handler and then have the offensive player breach the defender’s cylinder to create draw a foul that went against the Mountaineers.

He’s not going to like this proposal for the 2017-18 season.

Adjust the officiating guidance in relation to the cylinder rule. If a defensive player straddles an offensive player’s leg in a way that prohibits him from making a normal basketball move — which now includes pivoting — contact that creates a common foul will be called on the defensive player.

The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel will discuss next month. Also up for consideration are some good ideas and some odd ideas, including extending the coach’s box from 28 to 38 feet, which Jamie Dixon will love, and going to the monitor in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime to make sure officials get a block/charge right, which no one will love.