NCAA rule changes have been problematic for fouling Salukis
SIU men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson has never been a fan of foul calls, but his team has been racking up more of them than most other teams this season.
This is partly because the NCAA has instituted multiple rule changes in hopes of speeding up the game and increasing scoring.
More freedom has been given to offensive players than ever before. The ball handler is allowed more space to make plays, such as passing, dribbling and shooting, without the defender jamming him up.
“Getting up on guys — those days are over,” Hinson said. “I’m an old school guy. I’ve always been about get in their grill, get up, get in them, bother them — do all this stuff. Those days are over.”
During SIU’s Nov. 18 win against SIU-Edwardsville, the Salukis had compiled 30 personal fouls, two short of having every Saluki forward foul out of the contest.
The national team average is currently 19.33 personal fouls per game. SIU averages 22.0, a jump from last year’s 21.44 per game.
“I think we’ve done a poor job, specifically me as a head coach adjusting our guys to the new rules,” Hinson said.
The Saluki coach has worked with his team in practices to be more effective on the defensive side without getting whistled.
In the first four games, Southern averaged 23 personal fouls per game. But in past four, the team has averaged 21 per contest.
“I think we’re finally starting to adjust a little bit,” Hinson said. “We fouled way too much in the first part of the season. We were way too aggressive on our defense with our hands and not getting into position and not moving, so I don’t think that’s as much our players’ fault as it is my fault.”
But the coaching staff can only provide advice to the players. It’s up to those on the court to comprehend and implement the lessons.
Sophomore guard Armon Fletcher is leading the team with a team-high with 27 fouls this season. He said the team needs to be more aware on defense to stay out of the foul column.
“[We need to] play smarter defense,” Fletcher said. “Not letting my man get to my body — they know the new rules, if you touch them, it’s a foul. As a defender, you have to try different things to try to distract the offensive player. Keep your hands active and keep your feet moving, so you won’t get those touch fouls.”
The uptick in foul calls has also created advantages for players such as sophomore guard Sean Lloyd, whose aggressive play style naturally creates a lot of contact. He said the new rule changes go both ways and can be used as a strategy point for the team.
“[The rule changes] kind of make it easier,” Lloyd said. “With a little contact, they’re going to call a foul every time, so it’s just go in there hard. You get a call most of the time.”
The Salukis will play their next game at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Louisville.