May 24, /p<9f
Three-Point Goal?. . .It's A Cheap Shot
TV Was The Reason For Sudden Change
The college basketball rules committee reminds me of the lady who cooks from the pocket of her apron. A dab of this and a dash of that and the soup just has to taste better. Not necessarily, maam. Not necessarily!
The game has just finished the most spectacularly successful NCAA Tournament ever.
Teams ranked numbers one and two in the country made it through to the Final Four. A Cinderella Five also showed up in Dallas. An admittedly great club won it. The basketball was superb and the American sports public ate it up.
So, hey man, what's the problem?
Stan Torgerson Cats' Pause Columnist -
The problem is that too many TV commentators, the Billy Packers, the Al McGuires, the Dick Vitales talked too many times about how much zone was being played and how the defenses were being packed in down low and how unfair that was to the big man.
Unfortunately, members of the rules committee were apparently listening.
Do Changes Always Help?
Heavens! If light, tough zone defenses are creating a problem in college basketball, we can solve that! All we have to do to change the game is change the rules! And so they did and in 1986-87 we're going to see the three-point play come into the game.
For several years prior to this past season, various conferences were allowed to experiment with the rules. One league played a 45-second clock, another experimented with 30 seconds. This group tried the three-point play from 19 feet, 9 inches, that group from 22 feet or so. It varied.
When all was said and done, the coaches voted in favor of the clock. They liked it. It prevented stalling. It kept things moving. You just couldn't sit on the ball any more late in the game.
So the 45-second clock went into the rule book with the blessing of the majority and it proved to be good for basketball.
But those same coaches voted against the three-point play, particularly from close-in distances. It cheapened the game and rewarded mediocrity. Junior high school kids could throw the ball in from 19*9".
Even when the line was moved back during this experimentation stage the coaches didn't like it. Their votes clearly showed there was no sentiment for the change.
So in 1985-86 the tinkering experiment was concluded, everyone played by the same rule book and the three-point play wasn't part of that book.
In 1986-87 it will be and from 19'9"!
Hey, Whose Idea Was This?
Don't ask me how or why it was suggested, approved and passed by the rules committee. Darned if I know and judging by the comments of most major college coaches
Al McGuire Dick Vitale
around the country, darned if they know, either.
When announcers talk about someone taking a cheap shot on the basketball floor next year they won't be referring to an elbow in the ribs. A cheap shot will be a three-
pointer from 19*9".
How cheap? The top of the key is 21 feet away from the basket. If you've watched much basketball you've seen bombs away from that distance all night and with a high percentage of success.
Now the rules committee is allowing these sharpshooters to get over a foot closer to the basket and rewarding them with an extra point if they fill it from there.
Pat Dye Hugh Durham
Ridiculous! Talk about a prize for mediocrity! If you're going to have a three-point play, do as the pros do and move the line back far enough so that the extra point is justified by shooting skill but don't award three for a playground shot.
The Packer-McGuire-Vitale listeners will tell you that the three-point play will force more teams to play man defense, give the big man an equal break. It will, they say, bring the shooting guard back into the game.
Come on guys, get serious!
Why should man defense be preferable to zone? Watching a really good zone in action is every bit as exciting and interesting as watching an active man-to-man.
And why is it so important to give the big man even more advantage than his height already gives him? What about the schools who don't have a big man? How many 6-10, 6-11 or seven-footers are there, anyway? Certainly not enough so that every team has one. Those that do will enjoy an even bigger advantage than they have now.
As for the shooting guard, he's always been a valuable commodity. One of the ways to break a zone is to shoot over the top of it. This rule won't put him back in the game. He's never left it. But coaches have wanted him also to be able to pass the ball and play defense. That won't change, either.
I don't wish the rules committee any bad luck. However, hopefully, next year the picture on their TV set will still work but the sound will conk out.
Then maybe we'll be able to play two consecutive seasons with the same rules.
Not For Broadcast
There must be something wrong with my standards. A recent Tennessee press release, discussing academics among their 1985 freshmen on the football team said, "The freshman members of the 1985 SEC Champion Tennessee football squad have already enjoyed academic success in their first year on the hill. . .Four freshmen own grade point averages of 3.0 or close to that mark." Four out of the entire bunch with a B average or "close to that mark" is considered good? Quote head coach Johnny Majors "As far as our freshmen are concerned, it's the best group I've ever been around." No further comment!. . .What an amazing record the SEC had in the recent NCAA Tournament. The conference finished 10-2 against outside competition and both losses (Auburn and LSU) were to Louisville, the eventual National Champion. There were two other losses, but they were in-house with Kentucky beating Alabama and LSU defeating the 'Cats. . .In the ladies tournament five SEC teams went to the final 16 and three teams made it to the final eight. . .With all the league's postseason success it's interesting to note that only Kentucky was in the Top 10 in the final polls. They were ranked third, the 24th time the Wildcats have been in the AP's final 10, and the 21st time they've made UPI's Top 10. Both are the best marks, ever, by any college basketball team. . .How tough is it to take a team to the Final Four? Only four coaches have ever done it with an SEC team Adolph Rupp, Joe Hall, Hugh Durham and Dale Brown. Norm Sloan did it while at North Caroliana State, Eddie Sutton made the trip with his Arkansas team and Durham went years ago when he was coaching Florida State. . The SEC's final non-conference record was 84-32 for a winning mark of 72.4 percent. Against outside competition Alabama was 9-2, Auburn 9-5, Georgia 8-3, Kentucky 11-2, LSU 15-2, Ole Miss 7-2, Tennessee 7-2 and Vanderbilt 6-3. Only Mississippi State was on the debit side with their mark of 3-6. . .Absolutely loved an Auburn press release that came out some time before the start of spring practice. It said, "The team is working out at 6 a.m. three days a week because," Pat Dye said, "that's the only time we can get everybody together." Is that within NCAA rules and regulations? Sure it is since the release reassures us "the workouts are part of a physical education program administered by the football staff but open to all students. Thus far, no other university students have chosen to participate." How strange!. . THE LAST WORD Dale Brown of LSU after taking out a newspaper ad to congratulate Kentucky for winning the conference title, "We've all been so competitive we've forgotten to congratulate each other. You try your best to win. Then you should put an arm around each other."