Butler Bulldogs: Examining effects of new defensive rules in NCAA

Much has been made this off-season about the new rules that the NCAA hopes will make for a prettier game that allows for more scoring and, in turn, a better product on the floor. These rules include getting rid of hand checking, creating more room for players to move, and it also modified the block/charge rules. Here is a quick breakdown from the NCAA:

“The Men’s Basketball Rules Committee believes this will give officials more time to determine block/charge calls. Committee members also believe the tweak to the block/charge rule will:
• Allow for more offensive freedom
• Provide clarity for officials in making this difficult call
• Enhance the balance between offense and defense”

And with the physicality that Butler plays with on defense, they may be one of the teams that will be hurt from this new rules of not being able to really put your hands on or hit players on that end of the floor. Coaches across the country suggest that more and more teams are moving to zone defenses as their teams become accustomed to these changes early in the season.  But is that really what this game needs?

The purpose of the rules is understandable. Last season, in terms of offense and the overall product on the court, it was an ugly season. Scoring was as low as it has been in decades and the NCAA saw an opportunity to help curve that and get the ball in the basket more, thus creating a “more exciting” game for the casual fan. The NBA has done this and it has been successful, but it will definitely take some getting used to.

The intent is for truly talented offensive players to be able to have the freedom for creativity and movement both with and without the ball. The hope on the NCAA’s part is that this will get rid of all of the bumping on the offensive it that prevents this. Defenders will be moving away from using hands to control the offensive player to strictly moving their feet, which is what the NCAA hopes will be true fundamental defense.

The biggest question on Butler’s end, though, will be how they can still find a way to be physical without committing some of these new fouls. Zone defense doesn’t really seem like something the Bulldogs will be spending too much time in, so it’s about maintaining an intimidating defensive attack in man-to-man despite not being able to body up on the offense now.

This does have its advantages for Butler on offense though. Someone explosive like Elijah Brown should have an easier route to the basket with the ball and guys like Kellen Dunham, Erik Fromm and Andrew Smeathers will have more freedom of movement without the ball which will help them create more space for spot-up jumpers.

It is definitely going to be a change in the way teams attack that end of the floor and it will be an interesting story line to follow. Butler is known to be one of the most physical teams that coaches will have to prepare for, and now they will have to find some different ways of going about doing that.

Nov 21, 2012; Lahaina, HI, USA; Butler Bulldogs forward Erik Fromm (4) lays the ball in against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Sam McLaurin (0) during the 2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational championship game at the Lahaina Civic Center. Illinois defeated Butler 78-61. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports