March “Coaches” Madness!

Written by on April 15, 2019

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 15, 2019, #739 Up Next… March “Coaches” Madness! After further review… Hope you enjoyed the NCAA Final Four last week, but please don’t respond by saying your tournament bracket had all four of those teams! If so, you should be buying Powerball tickets. There’s no question that the Spartans, Tigers, and Red Raiders provided unexpected thrills! Congratulations to the Virginia Cavaliers 2019 NCAA Champions, the first time in Virginia’s history. However, Texas Tech should keep their heads held high as they provided an outstanding – and overtime – final game.

Having played, coached and officiated basketball at the high school and college levels, I have always loved the game for its strategies, finesse, and athleticism. However, the power vs finesse style of play in today’s game leaves me wanting. Players in today’s college game are “on-the-floor” during almost every transition – that’s what is called up and down the court now – transition. Dr. Naismith didn’t envision it that way.

The physical contact by the defense, both on the man (we’ll leave the girls/women’s game for another time) with the ball as well as contact away from the ball is beyond a reasonable game of basketball. With the height of players today, the game is played above the rim, so dunking (never did like that) the ball becomes a necessity. The 3-point shot has kept the game wide-open with players cutting, screening and using the pick-and-roll. However, driving to the basket has made the game officials’ call of charging vs blocking an impossible task.

My personal college officiating experience, albeit some 40 -50 years ago, at the Divisional One level was with coaches John Wooden, U.C.L.A. and Pete Newall, Cal/Berkeley to name just a couple. I learned from both that coaching takes place throughout the week with the game being a place to sit, strategize and enjoy. However, in today’s college game most coaches don’t “sit.” They’re on their feet screaming at their players and officials. Some are even in-the-ear of the closest official berating him while the game is on-going.

You probably are aware there is a coaches box (that line about 15-20 feet from the center court line) wherein coaches, by rule, are supposed to remain -except they don’t. Moreover, some are even on the court itself, which is a “T” (technical foul). In one “MM” game, an official stopped the game and warned the coach to stay off the court. He did, but reluctantly.
Will you log-in your thoughts about today’s college basketball game?

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