Jerardi: When refs keep calling charges, I cry foul

APTOPIX Nevada New Mexico Basketball
Nevada's Lindsey Drew slips while driving with the ball during the second half of the overtime win over New Mexico on Saturday night.

MY SELF-IMPOSED three-year moratorium on screaming about the default offensive call is over, so . . . midway through the regular season, it is worse than ever and I am screaming again.

The NCAA tried to legislate this a few years ago and it was actually working. But then it weakened the interpretation of the block/charge rule and we are right back where we started - when in doubt, call a charge. It actually should be the other way, as video replay almost always shows after disputed calls.

My earlier solution was that unless everybody in the gym knows it is a charge, it is a block. When you slow down replays, it is amazing how often the defensive player is still moving into the driver's path.

And there are the flops, which lead me to another solution - instant replay. Follow the NBA model for calling flops, where they fine players after the fact for faking getting fouled.

You obviously can't fine college players for starting to fall before contact or falling over as if they have been hit by Jason Peters when there was barely any contact or no contact.

If one of the officials who did not make a call had a better angle and thinks the call might be wrong, he should suggest they watch a replay. If it turns out the defender was, in fact, flopping, rescind the charge call and give the flopper a technical foul. If the same player does it again in the same game, give him another tech and toss him. If officials see a flop live, call the tech.

Yes, replay might slow the game down for a while, but, if this gets enforced, players and, just as important, coaches who teach this nonsense, will get the message. Just play defense. Don't create unnecessary drama. Don't try to trick officials who already have a very difficult job that has gotten only harder as the players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster.

Impossible comebacks

Last Saturday, New Mexico led Nevada, 90-76, with 1:05 left in the game. Nevada's win probability according to kenpom.com? Zero percent.

Nevada won, 105-104, in overtime.

How is that even possible?

Have Nevada go 6-for-6 from three at the same time New Mexico is going 4-for-10 from the foul line. That gets you to OT.

Somehow New Mexico regained its poise and led, 103-98, in OT. Naturally, Nevada won on a buzzer-beating three by Jordan Caroline. He was 17-for-29 and 5-for-8 from three on his way to 45 points.

The very next day, Stony Brook trailed Albany, 70-51, with 5 1/2 minutes left. And then scored the game's final 21 points to win, 72-70.

Kenpom's win probability for Stony Brook? 0.3 percent.

How was that possible?

In that final stretch, Stony Brook went 5-for-9 overall, 3-for-4 on threes and 8-for-8 from the foul line, while Albany was committing eight turnovers, going 0-for-2 from the field and 0-for-1 from the foul line.

Odds of those comebacks happening over a 14-hour period? Incalculable.

Villanova, Temple schedules

Going into Tuesday night, Villanova had played the fourth-toughest schedule, by opponent records. The Wildcats had played teams that were 150-71 and will play teams that are 108-45. Temple had played the sixth-most difficult schedule, with its opponents 156-79 and its future opponents 88-58.

The Atlantic 10 story

It is still early, but Dayton and VCU look like the class of the league, with combined records of 25-6. You could also make a case for Rhode Island, which has played very well against a difficult schedule, losing by three at Valparaiso, Providence and Dayton, and by five at Houston. Richmond would be the early surprise team with a 3-0 league record, including two road wins.

La Salle might be the most interesting team to watch. The Explorers' games are never dull. They are second in the league in scoring (81.5 points) and last in scoring defense (79.5 points). They are fifth in field-goal accuracy (46.3 percent) and 13th in field-goal defense (47.3 percent). They are first in three-point shooting (37.7 percent) and last in three-point defense (40.8 percent).

The A-10 has gone 111-65 in nonconference games, but only 2-8 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, 1-6 vs. the Big East, 1-7 vs. the Big Ten and 0-4 against the Big 12.

The 750 club

Most people might be able to guess six members of the active coaching club with 750 or more wins. They are: Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Roy Williams (North Carolina), Rick Pitino (Louisville) and John Beilein (Michigan). The seventh? Cliff Ellis (Coastal Carolina).

By the way, if the NCAA had not vacated 101 of Boeheim's wins, he would be five from 1,000.

Beilein is the rare NBA in college basketball, as in Never Been Assistant, not in high school, not in community college, not in any college division he has coached.

The 2,000 club

The 3,000-point club won't have many new members, if any. Players good enough to get there aren't around very long.

There are only four active 2,000-point scorers, and none has as many as 2,100 points yet. Damon Lynn (NJIT) is first on the list (2,079), with Alec Peters (Valparaiso) just behind. Lynn has made 418 career threes. Peters, a multi-skilled forward very much on NBA radar, averages 24.2 points this season, second only to Central Michigan's Marcus Keene (29.0 points)

Does not miss much

UNC-Wilmington's Devontae Cacok was in the area last week at Drexel and Delaware. He took 16 shots in the games and missed one. On the season, he has taken 122 shots and missed only 21, a cool, NCAA-best 81.9 percent.

This and that

La Salle's Pookie Powell is third nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 4.7/1 . . . La Salle coach John Giannini needs 12 wins for 500 in his career . . . Thirteen teams are shooting 50 percent or better, including Villanova (50.5 percent), good for ninth nationally . . . UNCW, Charleston and Northeastern are 12-0 in CAA play. Drexel, Delaware and Towson are 0-11 . . .

Going into Tuesday night's game against George Mason, Saint Joseph's was getting outscored by 192 points from the arc . . . Penn has improved in every way from Steve Donahue's first season, but the Ivy race is very unclear at the moment, with the nonconference results hard to interpret . . .

Philly's Maurice Watson (Creighton) has 785 career assists, most among active players and leads the nation this season at 9.1 dimes per game . . . Lehigh's terrific Tim Kempton is 82 rebounds from 1,000 . . . Kentucky and UCLA are second and third in scoring per game, 94.2 points and 93.1 points per game, respectively. When they played Dec. 3 at Rupp, it was UCLA 97, UK 92 . . . Savannah State made 24 threes in one game, 23 in another. The Tigers average a nation's best 15 threes per game. They are 4-11. How? They average 86 points per game and give up 101.3.


jerardd@phillynews.com

@DickJerardi

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