New NCAA rules on display on TV but not in UALR game on Monday

Heading into Monday's UALR-North Florida game, I was really interested to see how the new defensive guarding and block/charge rules would affect the game.

It didn't. Not one bit. That game was called just the same way every game was called in the past 10 years of college basketball. Questionable charges were called when we've heard these will always be blocks now. Defenders putting their hands on the offensive player with the ball. Pretty much the same as it has been.

Then I watched some of the Kansas-Duke game last night. There were 53 fouls called and the teams combined to shoot 63 free throws. That's not an insane total (we've already seen more this season) but there were stretches of that game in which there seemed to be a foul every time down the court. What I'm saying is that this game was officiated entirely differently from the UALR-North Florida game.

UALR-North Florida had 37 fouls called and the teams combined to shoot 38 free throws. Maybe it was just one game. But I watched a lot of college basketball on Tuesday and I saw a lot more fouls called for a lot less than players got away with at the JSC on Monday.

Take Duke-Kansas last night. Was it that much more physical? It probably was. But maybe it had to do with who was officiating and who was watching. 

Kansas-Duke was officiated by Mike Stuart, Bryan Kersey and Ray Natili on ESPN in a game featuring two very high profile teams. Stuart's three previous games this season he called an average of 37 fouls per game. Kersey had called 39 fouls per game going into Tuesday. Natili had called an average of 38 fouls per game. Then these three get together on national TV and call 53.

UALR was officiated by Kerry Sitton, Sam Croft and Dan Chrisman with no TV in a game featuring two low-profile teams. And they called fewer fouls than they've been calling in games this year.

I don't think the officiating was the difference in the game. UALR's inability to rebound did most of the damage to the Trojans.

I may be in the minority but I like the new rules. I like that defensive players can't put their hands on offensive players. I remember when I was playing basketball as a kid. Remember the call "reaching in?" When's the last time that was called the way it used to be?

But the NCAA needs to decide if it wants these new rules or not. And there needs to be consequences for officials who don't call the hand-checking. As it appears right now, players are going to have to determine how the game is going to be called on a night-to-night basis and adjust.