How will the NCAA’s new rules affect VCU basketball you ask? First, an understanding of the rules that have been tweaked is necessary. Most of the new rules have been implemented to the defensive side of the court in attempts to increase scoring. Last season’s average scoring, overall, was one of the lowest it’s ever been and many attribute that to defensive foul rules.
New rules include details about how defensive players can now approach those dribbling. First, they cannot continuously jab the ball handler or use two hand contact and second, they can’t hold hands or forearms on their opponent. Basically, fouls will be called when an action against the ball handler occurs. When it comes to shooting, guards now must be in legal defensive position before the upward motion of the shooting player occurs. Previously the guard had to be in position before they lifted off the ground but now it is before they begin that upward movement to shoot. Reasoning behind this rule is to not only give the player more time to make a shot but it also gives referees more time to see and call fouls.
What does this mean for VCU? Head Coach Shaka Smart’s famous HAVOC on the court may need to be toned down somewhat. Full court pressure, which is what the Rams have been known to do, will be harder with these new defensive rules. According to Stat Sheet, in the 2012-2013 season VCU ranked 2nd in the A-10 conference when it came to defensive fouls, falling behind La Salle at 1st. In regards to the NCAA as a whole, VCU tied 8 other teams for the 117th place out of 347 total teams for number of defensive fouls per game.
Many of Coach Smart’s plays include very hands on approaches. VCU was ranked 1st in the nation with steals per game in both the ’12-’13 and ’11-’12 seasons. Smart’s full-court pressure and physical plays contributed largely to this top ranking. Many skeptics may say that VCU’s game will have to change which may affect the success of the team, but true fans know that Coach Smart and his talented team can adjust accordingly.
These players had to adjust from league to league all their lives and from one set of specific rules to another. Coach Smart has proven to be versatile and, as we all know, a change of rules doesn’t change the amount of immense talent on the VCU team and coaching staff.