Monday, April 02, 2018

The Final Four

I don't watch sports nearly as much as I used to, unless it's hockey.

Since I don't, I've started noticing things in individual sports that don't make sense (I used to just take them for granted).

Case in point: college basketball.

I don't watch college basketball all year until the NCAA Tournament, but then I watch games when I can, and I always watch the Final Four. I noticed three things this year that stand out and don't make any sense at all.

1. Consecutive timeouts
Nothing kills the flow of a broadcast (and college basketball, like all other sports, is now an entertainment product that drives an economic engine) like consecutive dead ball timeouts. It serves absolutely no purpose except to give control-freak coaches a chance to minutely affect the course of events to an even greater degree than they already do. Yuck.

2. Timeouts on in-bounds plays.
Look, if a guy can't inbound the ball in five seconds, it should be a turnover, because the defense should be rewarded. There's no way there should be a bailout opportunity where the player can call timeout before the five seconds are up. Again, this just kills the flow of the game and is a huge letdown, because the tension rises as the team with the ball struggles to get it in bounds, then everything deflates when the time out is called.

3. Foul Outs and Disqualification
If I was still watching college basketball all the time, I never would have questioned this, but how stupid is it to have an arbitrary threshold of number of fouls that disqualifies a player for the rest of the game? Again, college basketball is an entertainment product, and seeing excellent players on the bench because of bad foul calls by the referee (or having them change the way they call the game after a player has four fouls) is bad entertainment.

Here's an option, and it gives the coaches strategic options that can be questioned later (always fun). After the fifth foul, a player can continue to play, but if he commits any additional fouls, the other team gets two free throws and the ball.

That's easy to understand, and it will really make coaches squirm. They can keep their star on the floor, but fouls become a huge penalty. Is it worth it? It creates interesting and difficult decisions for coaches, and it keeps the best players on the floor (and if the coach takes them out, like I said, it creates discussion).

I'd also like to point out that the car horn is driving me crazy.

For unknown reason, when the scorer's table wants to signal the referee that substitutions are coming in, the sound of the buzzer is a car horn. Why a car horn? Was the sound of a leaf blower not available?

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