Men's Basketball

Jim Boeheim on the NIT’s experimental rules: ‘It makes no sense’

Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Jim Boeheim wasn't sure what to expect regarding the new rules. After one game, he came away with his own conclusions.

Prior to Syracuse’s opening game in the National Invitation Tournament, head coach Jim Boeheim said he wasn’t sure what to expect from the tournament’s experimental rules.

Boeheim and his staff mentioned the rules to the SU players, although they didn’t go into great detail before No. 1 seed SU’s (19-14, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) 90-77 win over No. 8 seed North Carolina-Greensboro (25-10, 14-4 Southern) on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome in the first round of the NIT. After one game with the new rules, Boeheim came to his own conclusions.

“I don’t know what it’s for, I don’t know where it came from or why,” Boeheim said referring to a rule that affects when teams shoot free throws. “It makes no sense.”

The rule change was a shift in the resetting of team fouls from halftime to every 10 minutes of game time. When playing under the normal rule, each team is allowed six team fouls before the opposition shoots one-and-one free throws (meaning one shot is granted and if it’s made, the second one is earned) beginning with the seventh team foul in a half. Once 10 team fouls in a half are reached, the opposition earns two free throws with each foul.

Under the experimental rules being used for the NIT, two free throws are granted once the opposition reaches four team fouls. But those team fouls reset after each of the four 10-minute segments in the game.

“I don’t think the four-foul rule is a good rule at all,” Boeheim said. “Say you get (four), but you get the (fourth) one just after 10 (minutes into a half) and now they get (four) more, so you don’t get a free throw for 10 minutes.”

Under the regular rules, Boeheim explained that once a team starts racking up fouls, it’s easier to earn free throws quicker rather than having to restart halfway through a half.

“Now, it punishes you because now there’s no more free throws,” Boeheim said. “… You might get around four in eight or 10 minutes because they usually give a couple, the next couple and that seventh one usually comes, you get one-and-ones for six minutes. The way this works out, you might not get the two-shot foul possibly.”

Sophomore forward Tyler Lydon said he thinks the rule is interesting. It helps teams get to the bonus quicker, he said, but defensively, forces players to avoid weak fouls away from the basket more than they already would.

“Offensively it works out well for you. You get more shots, you can be more aggressive,” Lydon said, “but defensively it kind of makes you more hesitant to make plays because your team only has three fouls or whatever and a guy goes up and try to play it more straight or stop doing little ticky-tack fouls so I don’t know how much I really like it.”

The rule came into play twice for the Orange on Wednesday night. With just under five minutes to play in the first half, Tyler Roberson grabbed a rebound and got fouled. It was the Spartans’ eighth team foul of the half, but instead of shooting a one-and-one, Roberson shot two. He missed both, but under the regular rules, the ball would have been live after the first miss.


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The second occurrence came with over 12 minutes left in the second half, when Lydon drew UNCG’s fifth foul of the 10-minute segment after grabbing a defensive rebound. He converted both free throws.

With the Orange pulling away for most of the second half, the change in free-throw situations didn’t affect the outcome of the game. But as SU’s march toward the NIT crown continues it could be a factor down the line, a factor that Boeheim doesn’t like.

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