View Full Version : Is College Basketball Too Rough?

02-21-2009, 05:25 PM
The scenes are familiar by now.

Michigan's Manny Harris breaking Purdue guard Chris Kramer's nose with an elbow.

Michigan's Zack Novak cracking Ohio State's P.J. Hill with an elbow.

Indiana University's Devan Dumes throwing multiple elbows against Michigan State.

Each of those incidents was ruled a flagrant foul, and each offender was ejected. And while the Big Ten has a long-established reputation for physical play, those plays have been viewed in a different manner.

These aren't tough fouls in the paint. They're happening out on the floor, many in clear violation of the rule describing what is a flagrant foul.

"Swinging an elbow is not toughness, it is not competitiveness, it does not demonstrate a will to win. It is an affront to sportsmanship," television commentator Jay Bilas wrote on ESPN.com.

"Everyone is subject to getting a little frustrated and reacting negatively. It can happen. But when elbows are thrown purposefully, that is a problem."

The problem extends far beyond the Big Ten. The NCAA recently sent a memo to officials to monitor inadvertent elbows and excessively physical play.

Wednesday night, Duke's Kyle Singler received a technical after elbowing North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough during a battle for a loose ball.

DeQuan Jones of Miami was called for a flagrant foul and ejected for throwing an elbow at Duke's Greg Paulus.

Houston's Aubrey Coleman sat out a game after he stepped on Arizona's Chase Buddinger.

"I hope it's just a bit of a virus or flu or something that happened," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said when asked this week about the rash of flagrant fouls and ejections in the Big Ten.

"I think you have good coaches that are not teaching that. With the competitive nature of the game, the kids are kids. They get a little carried away, a little overzealous. Hopefully, it's something that just came about and isn't a trend."

Several ejections have come on what's called a "rip through," where the offensive player with the ball rips it through the zone right in front of the defender. It's commonly used to clear space.

But it is against college rules for an offensive player to "excessively" swing his elbows and make contact. An excessive swing of the elbows that leads to contact is, by rule, a flagrant foul and automatic ejection.

"I think it's just timing, wrong place, wrong time, for a guy defensively when a guy makes an offensive move," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "I don't know how much of it is flagrant, and it just takes away so much from the activities when you're working so hard in the classroom and on the court to have this dominate the conversation."

Wisconsin's Joe Krabbenhoft wasn't called for a foul on one of the more notorious hits of the season. The Badgers center dropped Purdue's Lewis Jackson with a screen that gave Jackson a concussion and caused him to miss a game.

Ryan refused to discuss the issue during Monday's teleconference, but the hit was roundly debated.

"Krabbenhoft clearly lifted his forearm and laid out Jackson by delivering a forearm shiver to the head," Bilas wrote. "The officials simply missed it."

Purdue coach Matt Painter said players need to have "a little nastiness" to be successful in major college basketball. The difference is in how that mentality is applied.

"You do your best to communicate what 'cross the line' is," Painter said. "Playing hard, getting down and dirty, getting loose balls, getting rebounds, taking charges -- you have to be hard-nosed. But you can't cross lines.

"Even though the guy may have chucked you, even though he may just have thrown an elbow, you can't swing on a guy, you can't elbow a guy in the head."


Thought this was an interesting article.

Mind you, this article was written before DeJuan Blair threw Hasheem Thabeat on his butt haha.

02-21-2009, 07:08 PM
i dont like how singler elbowing hansborough in the face is thrown in there with the rest of the unsportsmanlike intentional fouls.

but i also agree that the college game has gotten tougher and more physical the last couple years and players are allowed to bang a lot more in the post in todays game. I think there is probably a lot more hand checking in the college game compared to the NBA where they are quick to blow the whistle.

02-21-2009, 07:19 PM
I'd rather college games be tough, rather than a call every drive into the lane like in the NBA. Thats what makes the game great, and somewhat why I like college better.