Who Took the Baskets Out of College Basketball?

Patrick,

Loving the Jayhawks—like being a fan of Duke, the Yankees, or any good team—means expecting excellence. It also means agony when you lose. Whatever. The season is young, and Louisville dropped three straight last month. Rick Pitino's team is still a threat to make the Final Four. That's hoop life in the glorious age of parity—especially in this wide-open season. How many schools are a legitimate threat to get out of a bracket to Atlanta? 30? 50? Every dang team that makes the dance? Cool by me.

Whoever gets to the Final Four, though, we know they won't be scoring in triple-digits.

The players aren't scoring in college because they're too busy doing it in the NBA.

Patrick, you cite loads of reasons for the drop in college buckets. Some I'll agree with. Like the idea that some of the bad offense is caused by good defense. That includes bigger, stronger players, as well as the improvements in scouting afforded by video. You might also have mentioned the officials, who seem far more tolerant of hand-checks and contact in the paint than the go-go days of Paul Westphal.

We'll have to disagree about blaming control-freak coaches, though. Or maybe we can at least excuse them. It's possible coaches have to control the offense from the sidelines because no one who's out there dribbling knows how.

The biggest change in college hoops over the last few decades hasn't been video or the size of players on the court. It's been players leaving the court early or never stepping on it. Forget the three-point line. The really big rules change came in 1976 with the end of the "hardship requirement" for teenage players entering the NBA Draft. That change, as you dudes know, gave us today's hoops landscape&mash;a world where the very good players like John Wall are always "one and done," and a truly superior athlete like LeBron James never plays a second of the college game.

To me, that exodus of talent is the culprit. The players aren't scoring in college because they're too busy doing it in the NBA.

How about you, Jake? What's to blame for the falling numbers on campus, and what can we do to fix it? For that matter, should we even want to?

–Hampton

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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