NCAA needs to change rules on fouls in men’s basketball

Foul, missed free throw, foul, foul, foul, missed shot, foul, missed free throw and another foul. 

I doubt it was just me, but this year’s NCAA National Championship game was one to forget, unless you happen to be a North Carolina Tar Heels fan, they surpassed Duke (five), with a sixth national title. 

Monday’s national title game had all it should have wanted in a title game. Gonzaga made their first Final Four and championship game appearance. UNC tried to redeem itself after losing to Villanova last year on a buzzer beater.  UNC ended up winning 71-65, but it was one of the worst national championship games I have ever seen.

The thought of Gonzaga in the championship game was a reason for most people not to watch the game in the first place. However, there was a game. A very slow, uneventful game, that was not interesting until the last five minutes.

Both teams managed to have a combined 44 total fouls in a 40-minute game. Both the Zags and UNC were in the bonus with 12 minutes to go in the second half. Even with both teams in the bonus, the Tar Heels shot 58 percent (15-26) from the free-throw line, while the Zags shot 65 percent (17-26). 

Fouls in college basketball have become a problem more and more as each season passes by. We have seen women’s basketball switch to four 10-minute quarters last season. As a fan of college basketball, I would like to see a rule change. 

A rule change could consist of resetting the team fouls at a certain media timeout. Although this change has come up in discussions, this could leave for some confusion on when to reset or how to reset the fouls. 

Alternatively, the second option would be going to four quarters, while resetting fouls after each quarter. No one wants to watch a free throw contest with 12 minutes left in a championship game.

Ultimately, the referees have to be better. Do not steal the spotlight from the players. This is their stage and maybe the biggest one they will ever be on. The referees have to improve next season if they want to continue the game with the current format that is in place. Throughout the NCAA tournament there have been too many bad fouls and missed calls.   

The champion of the tournament got lucky in the second round, when they were up two against Arkansas with under a minute to go and Joel Berry drove down the lane and crashed into an Arkansas player. There was no call on the play and Kennedy Meeks grabbed the ball and put in a lay up, basically sealing the victory for the Tar Heels.

Out of the 17 players that saw action in the game, nine were in foul trouble. No one wants to watch any game when the best players from each team are unable to get on the court due to atrocious soft calls by refs. 

Gonzaga freshman Zach Collins had nine points and seven rebounds, which was probably one of his best games all year, but he fouled out late in the second half. 

When the best players are not out on the court for the biggest game of the year, it is easy to turn the channel.

We can all hope that the NCAA looks into improving the refereeing and making changes to the foul situation in the future.