Wait, that’s it? That was the Big Dance?
It was more like that video of LSU football coach Les Miles doing the Harlem Shake.
Not all that watchable.
So, a couple days after the end of the 2013 season, I’d like to present 10 ideas to make the game better. Many of these issues will likely never be resolved, but it’ll make me feel better to play NCAA President Mark Emmeret for the day:
1. Clean up the play: I like basketball. I like football. I like wrestling. I don’t like watching all three at the same time. The game is too physical, and it’s time the officials quit allowing rugby-like scrums under the basket every time a shot goes up.
2. Make the lane bigger: This is a great way to promote mid-range shooting and inside passing. With defense such an emphasis, coaches want to clog the lane with big bodies and stifle offensive movement. It would also help make shot blocking, not shot fouling, more essential.
3. Let conferences make the schedules: College basketball needs more marquee nonconference games in November and December that are not played in neutral-site tournaments. Coaches understandably like to schedule enough easy games to boost the record. The NCAA committee has tried to tell them to stop doing that, essentially punishing teams with no bids or bad seeds for poor résumés. How about conferences step in and take scheduling out of the coaches’ hands and put together some better matchups?
4. Do a real jump ball: When there’s a tie-up between two players, can we please jump it off like the NBA instead of letting a stupid arrow decide possession?
5. Clean up officiating: Former Pac-12 head of officials Ed Rush was allegedly offering incentives for any referee who would give Arizona coach Sean Miller a technical last month. Does it get more out of control than that? Don’t fire all referees. Just hire better people to manage them.
6. More instant replay: I never thought I’d say this, because I hate slowing the game down, but there are just some absolutely brutal calls these days. Someone needs to step in more often and fix the mistakes.
7. Fewer timeouts late in games: Coaches save timeouts so they can micromanage every single possession in the final minute. Start giving every team three timeouts maximum in the final two minutes, no matter how many coaches have held on to. It’ll speed up the game and keep viewers from reaching for the remote after every made basket.
8. Force players to stay longer: The one-and-done has become an epidemic in college hoops. The NBA isn’t going to go back to the way it used to be, so find a way to make players stay for two seasons, or even three, like baseball. The longer players stay, the more marketable the college game becomes.
9. If coaches go, let players go: A coach can leave a program for another job anytime he wants. A player must jump through many hoops and usually sit out a season if he wants to leave. Instead, if a coach jumps ship, the players should be allowed to transfer without penalty. Will there need to be an assortment of parameters to make this work? Sure, but coaches have too much power.
10. Stop all this realignment: OK, so we know this isn’t going to happen, but the football-driven conference-shifting is killing basketball. Those incredible Big East rivalries are dead. I wish football and basketball programs could separately join whatever conference they want. That would be a mess with the nonrevenue sports, but nothing seems fair anymore.