The Whistle of College Basketball
November 15, 2016
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Throughout a disappointing defeat for the Michigan State Spartans at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats, one sound remained in my head: a whistle. 36 fouls were called in the first game of the annual Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. 5 minutes into the second of two games between Kansas and Duke and already 11 fouls were called.
In each broadcast, I heard Jay Bilas or Dick Vitale utter something along the lines of the following, “The hopes with the attention to the extra physicality is that the players will adjust and ultimately allow the game to flow better.” The issue in college basketball will be finding that balance to allow a game to flow smoothly. It is extremely difficult to watch a basketball game if every minute another foul is being called. The excessive amount of whistles ruins any flow the players can create on the floor.
Every season referees will have a focus on what they will look for on the court. Usually by the end of the season, the issue automatically corrects itself either by the actions of the players or the officiating. After watching these two games, I am left with some concern. The players are playing basketball hard. Basketball is a physical sport with contact involved. The officiating has to let the players play if they want better game flow. Stay tuned throughout the rest of the college basketball season as I will provide updates on the excessive whistle issue.