College hoops can learn from wide-open college football

Every Saturday, offensive records are being set on college football fields from coast to coast. Baylor scores 70 just about every week. When Oregon has a drive longer than five plays or a minute, it is news. Huddles are an anachronism

Watching college football is fun. Coaches actually are letting their players control the games. If you are not trying to score 50, you are not trying. Even the SEC has become wide open. Michigan is setting offensive records.

This brings us to college basketball which beyond the wonderful championship game when Louisville beat Michigan, 82-76, was generally hard to watch last season.

Over the last 40 years, scoring has gone down 10 points per game. Shooting was historically awful last season, possessions often excruciating.

Basketball coaches should watch some football, let their players have fun. Their players and their fans will thank them.

Recognizing they have a serious problem, basketball rules officials have tried to address the lack of scoring by actually enforcing some rules that have been ignored and tweaking the interpretation on a play that has really swung the balance of power from offense to defense.

When the season starts in a few weeks, expect to see a lot more fouls called. Dribblers are supposed to be freed from all the hand checking and arm bars. If this actually happens, there will be more free throws and, thus, more points. If defenders adjust, there should be more freedom of movement and, thus, more scoring.

The benefit of the doubt given to defenders on the block/charge call has been the single biggest impediment to scoring. It is now supposed to be interpreted in such a way that defenders have to be set once an offensive player begins an upward motion with the ball to take a shot or make a pass. Before, the defender had to be set before an offensive player left the floor.

That split-second difference should, in theory, lead to many more blocking fouls. If it is called that way, it should discourage all the flopping, open up the lane and create more scoring.

Estimates are that the block-charge call has been wrong about 35 percent of the time. I think it was higher, but let’s go with that number and let’s assume the majority of the wrong calls were charges that should have been blocks. That’s a lot of potential points taken off the board and a lot of fouls on what probably are the most creative players on the floor.

You can’t change control-freak coaches overnight, but these are good first steps to creating more offense. Let’s hope they work.