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Debate Forum: College Basketball Styles and NCAA Rules

Where an MSU fan defends fouling all the time as a viable strategy.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Michigan State Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The primary purpose of the Off Tackle Empire writers’ slack group is to coordinate our schedule and develop content.

Sometimes, our comments make for some interesting food for thought. Sometimes, the participants in these conversations are urged to copy them into the editor and hit publish. Sometimes, they totally say they will but never do.

Such a conversation happened during the Michigan State Spartans’ tilt with the Kentucky Wildcats, sparked by Brandrew Keselowski:

AK: This is your annual reminder that calling everything makes basketball unwatchable

Stewmonkey13: Then stop fouling so much. Adjust your damn style

AK: Nah, think we’ll just keep winning shit.

AK: They’ve called 6 on Kentucky too





Stew: Then stop playing like that.

AK: Kentucky’s spending 11 minutes in the double bonus. MSU’s in bonus as well

thumpasaurus, as illinois takes nicholls state to overtime: trent frazier hasn’t made a fucking shot?!?!?!?!?!

DJ Carver: I had to check who NICH was

AK: Other thing about calling everything is you call stuff that isn’t a foul, like Tillman’s second just now

Stew: You know what else is unappealing? Wrestle-ball like the bad boy pistons and 90’s knicks. To implement change means to stick to calling the fouls like they are until it causes a change to playing styles. Unfortunately they never stick with it.

AK: If they stuck with it, no one would watch the games. And you know it.

Stew: no one is watching the games as it is

AK: Given that it’s Tuesday night, no I kind of doubt it. But right, nobody watching the games is why CBS pays actual billions of dollars to broadcast this sport.

Stew: The tourney is the only decent draw of viewers. Because it’s the tourney. Regular season views have been declining for CBB for a long time...because the style sucks donkey balls

AK: How foolish of coaches like Izzo, Beard and Bennett to play a style that sucks donkey balls. Let’s see now, what do those 3 have in common. Other than a style that sucks donkey balls

Stew: Because the rules/officiating favors them

AK: Yeah, having Henry and Tillman on the bench for the whole first half is a great benefit

Stew: They take advantage of the rules/officiating to leverage success. But it’s at the cost of the overall product. They’re [sic; side note what the hell dude] success is the sport’s loss.

AK: Unless you have a way to disperse talent more evenly so the lottery picks aren’t all at the same 5 schools, coaches are going to do what they have to to level the field. This isn’t the NBA where every team has a Lillard or Doncic or whoever

Stew: The NBA has, generally, been just as stratified.

MNWildcat, attempting to General Manage: i would read the hell outta this article. just saying

AK: But because there’s incentive to tank and the players can actually do what they want, not due to a lack of available talent.

Stew: In the NBA, in any given season, only about 6/30 teams have a chance to win the title...

Jesse Collins: WE’VE PULLED WITHIN 17! (Nebraska would not in fact close the gap to UC-Riverside)

Stew: ...And Villanova has shown with good/not 1-done talent you can compete and win.

AK: How many have a realistic chance in NCAA this year? If your answer is more than 10 out of 350 you’re nuts

Stew: KY and Duke, while great, haven’t won as many titles as the talent warrant And playing wrestleball isn’t the only way to level the playing field

AK: What else works? Let’s see your scheme. Because if your coach isn’t Jay Wright, don’t give me “whatever Nova is running”

Stew: In a sport where UConn won the title, it’s more open than the NBA or CFB.

...Nah, but there are other alternatives. Run and gun would work pretty damn well in a sport that isn’t wrestleball

Jesse: I think some of Nova and what not are also when you have proven developed talent over four years. So like, yes scheme matters, but there is a very real talent deficiency outside of a nucleus of teams. And while it’s boring as fuck to watch Virginia, etc., it’s also boring as fuck to watch Alabama football non-Tua edition and well... it still works and I don’t blame ANYONE for wanting that.

Stew: The princeton offense would work great, too. If you want to be more slow, but skilled. But the princeton offense can’t work in the world of wrestleball

AK: Yep, can’t take you seriously anymore. You’re trying to argue MSU’s style is unappealing and then argued for the reinstatement of Bill Fucking Carmody

Get your boy, @MNWildcat

Stew: I’m saying the ONLY alternative right now is wrestleball, while if you got rid of it, you would have more alternatives. you could go full Grinnell

AK: The secret irony in all this is that if you got your wish and they really called everything, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas would be the only teams who ever win anything. The more wide open it is, the more the talent gap becomes apparent

Stew: but the day to day games would be far more watchable


Stew: Honestly, I don’t care that much about the title game or final 4. I want the random game on a Tuesday to be good. Right now they’re all mostly crap.

AK: Then we will truly never see eye to eye. If you aren’t trying to win, what’s the point of all this?

Stew: I want every game to be good and watchable, not some nebulous, impossible to predict tourney result...Because basketball is fun. or should be.

MNWildcat: (posts link to a draft article that is then ignored for a week)

AK: Impossible to predict here meaning anyone with a 3 seed or higher can win

MCClapYoHandz: Let’s goooo

MNWildcat: sure, i could goo

AK: Well anyway, I’ve greatly enjoyed watching Stew’s ideal product where they call everything, the first half was almost 2 hours, and there could not have been more than 30 seconds of uninterrupted action yet

Stew: The end result isn’t everything. Process matters. It would suck for a while, but teams would adjust

AK: Hopefully the refs lose the whistles and an actual basketball game breaks out after halftime

Stew: I’d love for an actual basketball game to break out. Unfortunately the refs are likely to lose their whistles and we’ll get wrestleball

AK: Meaning the product we’ll see when the games start to matter. Got it

Stew: Which sucks

Beezer, talking about Wisconsin’s game against Saint Mary’s: Underwhelming finish to regulation

MCC: Didn’t get a good look. Great final 8 minutes though

Stew: Davison cannot believe they called a foul on him when he committed a foul.

Beez: Basketball player expresses shock at foul being called. Insane

Stew: Yeah, but I want to shit on wisconsin basketball.



Stew: I’ve been told that’s the only way to win games, and that entertainment doesn’t matter, though.

AK: Yeah I’d much prefer if both teams had 4 guys glued to the bench with foul trouble, that’s much more entertaining.


MNWildcat: Holy shit, UVA-’Cuse ended 48-34.

Stew: Man, that’s so awesome. I’m glad nothing is going to be done to help discourage that type of game. It’s so great for the sport. I bet people were flocking to their sets to watch such a contest. Good thing none of the stars were on the bench for such a thrilling affair.

AK: Zone should definitely be illegal. As should defense. In fact looking at a player on the opposing team really feels like a tech if you think about it.

Stew: I was unaware it was impossible to play defense without fouling. Thank you for enlightening me. I also don’t think that the zone should be illegal. But, I do think there should be defensive 3 second call. Would help break up zones and the pack line

Boilerman31: So basically you want to bring back the Illegal Defense call that the NBA got rid of

AK: I actually think we could both get our way if college went to 6-foul disqualification. That way, one biffed call midway through the first half doesn’t bench a vital player for a full quarter of the game

thumpasaurus: i kind of like that idea. and i can’t stress this enough, but there is a very lengthy and interesting article in all this.

DJ: Rhode Island has a player named Fatts Russell


MNWildcat: iowa what are you doing (Ed. note: getting trucked by DePaul)

AK: At least they aren’t playing an unappealing brand of basketball by being physical on defense


Who’s right?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Audible Krakatoaski
    (30 votes)
  • 28%
    (22 votes)
  • 33%
    (26 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now


Should the NCAA give you six personal fouls?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    (37 votes)
  • 50%
    (38 votes)
75 votes total Vote Now