Geno Auriemma: Men’s College Basketball Is “A Joke”

Few coaches in any sport are as accomplished as UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma: his teams have won the NCAA tournament nine times, he’s won his conference tournament eighteen times, and the regular season conference crown nineteen times.  In short, in the women’s game, Auriemma has been dominant, and with those accomplishments, you’d have to believe that he knows a thing or two about hoops.

When asked for his opinion on the men’s game, he had this to say yesterday at a press conference leading up to the NCAA Women’s Final Four:

I think the game is a joke.  It really is.  I don’t coach it.  I don’t play it, so I don’t understand all the ins and outs of it.  But as a spectator, forget that I’m a coach, as a spectator, watching it, it’s a joke.  There’s only like ten teams, you know, out of 25, that actually play the kind of game of basketball that you’d like to watch.  Every coach will tell you that there’s 90 million reasons for it.

And the bottom line is that nobody can score, and they’ll tell you it’s because of great defense, great scouting, a lot of team work, nonsense, nonsense.  College men’s basketball is so far behind the times it’s unbelievable.

Those are harsh words, obviously, and one that not all fans would agree with.  The men’s game is extremely athletic and competitive, and is compelling to watch because of it.  But Auriemma does have a point about the game having turned into a grind, one where defense all too often dominates the game and makes each possession more reminiscent of rugby than free-flowing basketball.  ACC fans need look no further than Virginia and its Pack Line defense for an example — Virginia will never be mistaken for a high-scoring offensive team, but on defense, their physicality shuts down almost everyone.

Players fundamentals seem to have dropped as well. Auriemma is correct when he implies that the fundamentals of modern hoops players is not what it used to be. Mid-range jumpers and free throws seem to be lost arts especially for super-athletic players who’ve starred their whole lives on the AAU circuits.

okaforJahlil Okafor, for example, shoots 51.1 percent from the free throw line. He’s a back-to-the-basket guy who’s only now developing a shot outside of the post, and is over 50% in only one spot: to the right of the key. On the left side of the rim, he averages around 35% inside the paint. Down low on the right, 38%. And he’s the consensus #1 pick going into the draft.  Okafor is not alone in his lack of a solid outside shot, in fact, few centers and all too many forwards seem to lack one these days.

Then there are the rules itself.  Physical contact is allowed in NCAA men’s hoop that would result in whistles every time in the NBA, in every league in Europe plus international competition to boot.  That’s not to say that defense is not part of those leagues, in fact, it is, but the accepted general rules of defensive position are more strictly enforced.  The net result has been a more free flowing game, and one that requires players to have good jump shots from anywhere inside the three point arc to climb up each successive level of competition.  Referees are also more consistent, the lack of which has dogged NCAA men’s competition for some time.

All in all, Geno Auriemma may have been well over the top when he said that the men’s game is “a joke.”  He does, however, make some good points about a lack of fundamentals and the general lack of free flowing back and forth hoops that’s become the norm in NCAA men’s basketball.  Some tweeking of the rules may be necessary, as well as an edict for men’s referees to call the games consistently not only throughout a single contest but also throughout the length of the season may well be needed.  By opening the game more, basic fundamentals will become more important, and kids growing up in the game will learn them if they want to have great careers.  With better players and rules not slanted towards wrestling matches over skills, the game will become even more exciting.

 

 

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Home Forums Geno Auriemma: Men’s College Basketball Is “A Joke”

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  • #84027

    Alpha Wolf
    Keymaster

    Few coaches in any sport are as accomplished as UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma: his teams have won the NCAA tournament nine times,
    [See the full post at: Geno Auriemma: Men’s College Basketball Is “A Joke”]

    #84029

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    Who put sand in his vajayjay?

    #84031

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Tweeking of the rules won’t help the inconsistency of the referees. Even this is fixable, but the conferences are going to have to want to fix it; instead of covering it up.

    #84032

    Alpha Wolf
    Keymaster

    Agreed completely, VaWolf. I’d like to see the NCAA manage the referees and not the conferences. After watching the NCAAT and seeing other guys calling games, there are a number of more objective and consistent guys that I would love to see calling ACC games instead of being a Krzyzewski’s beck and call.

    #84034

    Rick
    Keymaster

    Tweeking of the rules won’t help the inconsistency of the referees. Even this is fixable, but the conferences are going to have to want to fix it; instead of covering it up.

    Pitino was on Mike and Mike this morning and he said the same thing. Until the refs start cleaning up the game it will continue down this path. He said the NBA was facving the same problems and they cleaned it up by having the refs call the game correctly.
    The game is awful right now. I barely watch a game wihtout State in it. They are going to start losing viewership and fans because it is boring to watch UVS grab, hand check and elbow people into doing their will.

    #84035

    RedReid
    Participant

    Seems to me that games use to have higher scores back in 60’s and 70’s before they had a 3 point line. Go figure, more higher percentage shots equaled more points?? Also, the days of Kareem are over. You don’t see a big man with that kind of Finess around the basket anymore. Why do kids practice dunking? That’s easy. A good sky hook, that’s a game changer. The game has evolved to the flashy things kids see on ESPN which are highlights. The reality is, highlights are rare. That’s why there highlights.

    #84036

    PapaJohn
    Participant

    “Who put sand in his vajayjay?”

    Spit out my lunch!!! Funny!

    I think Gino overstated his point to get the conversation started. And it worked.

    I see no reason not to tweak the game to attempt to improve it. Try things, drop them if they fail, keep them if not. But, as noted, the Refs are always going to be a problem until the guys signing their checks want it fixed.

    I think it makes sense to align many of the rules with the NBA. Why not make the 3PT line the same? (add 3 feet) It’s not like the college guys can’t hit it, they will adjust. There may be a temporary dip in shooting percentage, but it won’t last.

    Shorten the shot clock. Going all the way to 24 with one leap might be too much, but dropping it down to 30 would be an improvement. Most possessions, more opportunities to score.

    Widen the lane to 16 feet (+4 feet) and the restricted area (+1 foot). I think that can only help the game, it will make driving the basket more common.

    And here’s a nutty idea, add a 4 point shot. Anything beyond half court is worth 4 points. Wouldn’t it be fun to see that integrated to that end of game strategy? Bombs away! I think I remember Cat hitting one his freshman year. And just before the half, what about letting one fly for that 4 point burst going into the half? I think it would be fun – but realistically, nobody’s is even considering this idea.

    The NFL tweaks itself, and they are a runaway train success story. I think we regularly fine tune to get the game we love better.

    #84038

    SeaWolf72
    Participant

    And, talking about a free-flowing game. How about not having a time-out every 2 minutes. Kills me when a TV time-out follows a coaches time-out 30 seconds later. And, don’t get me started on checking replay. Good grief.

    #84039

    wufpup76
    Keymaster

    Tweeking of the rules won’t help the inconsistency of the referees. Even this is fixable, but the conferences are going to have to want to fix it; instead of covering it up.

    Agreed completely, VaWolf. I’d like to see the NCAA manage the referees and not the conferences.

    ^Both of these quotes fall in line with my thinking. There needs to be a hierarchy / one standard for all refs … not a committee suggesting ‘guidelines’ (which will be abandoned once conference play begins). The inconsistency is bonkers, and more than that it has gone a long way toward diluting the quality of the product. I won’t re-post my long diatribe from a couple of months ago, but I’m in full agreement with Jay Bilas on this issue. Nothing gets solved without the administrative process being handled correctly first and foremost.

    Mike Greenburg of Mike & Mike whined and whined and whined about how tight the refs were calling the games during the NCAA tournament. That’s not a problem. The problem, as Bilas correctly pointed out, is that the game is called one way in the regular season and there is a ‘style’ for different conferences … then everybody gets to the NCAA tournament and the refs have to call it by the strict letter of the book. Plus, there’s not even consistency in ref groups/teams. That’s how you get West Virginia in as a 5-seed but looking more like a 16-seed against UK. They were allowed to punk their way through the regular season and then get b*tchslapped by a real basketball team in the tournament.

    I could rail about this forever.

    Seems to me that games use to have higher scores back in 60’s and 70’s before they had a 3 point line

    ^I hate the Cheats as much as the next person with reason and logic, but I agree with ol’ Roy when it comes to how the game is played. I give credit where it’s due – Roy and the Cheats play an absolutely beautiful style of basketball when they’re hitting on all cylinders. They’re an exception now, far from the rule. Roy favors expanding the lane, etc. and freedom of movement. I don’t like him, but I agree wholeheartedly.

    Another thing diluting the product – take a look at these quotes from Kobe Bryant about growing up and learning the game in Europe. The guys who truly taught the game here in the US started doing it overseas, and the US was left with cookie cutter ‘instructors’ … read: opportunists and hangers-on.

    I’ve posted that link here before, but imo it merits repeating. These are extremely salient comments.

    #84041

    ryebread
    Participant

    Quick thoughts:

    – I agree with GA that the men’s game is borderline unwatchable at this point. It’s played by very athletic people with very few skills and the “defense” is nowhere near the rules.
    – This only changes with calling the game as it is meant to be, stressing fundamentals at the lower levels and doing things like moving to the FIBA court and reducing the shot clock.
    – If college basketball doesn’t fix this, then I think interest levels will continue to decline. Right now, it’s almost all about/only the tournament for the average sports fan.
    – The women’s game is unwatchable, but that’s for other reasons. The girls actually do run a semblance of recognizable offensive sets though.
    – I thought and still think we should have gone after GA for our men’s coach. There’s no way that a guy who has won that many games would not be successful.

    #84042

    Texpack
    Participant

    The officials have to call all of the grabbing to open up the game.

    Watch the State – UMd game from the ACCT Finals in 1974 and see how that game was called. Notice the pace as well. This is all on the officials. Coaches have taught the kids to play rough and dared the officials to call 35 fouls per half. When the refs blow all of those whistles the fans complain about stoppages in play. You have to go through a re-training of the players and coaches to make the game better.

    As for scoring being better before the 3PT shot, I would disagree that there is a causal relationship. The best teams in the NBA this year are the ones that shoot and make the most 3’s. The “mid-range game”, particularly with rugby rules in play, is the absolute worst way to spend a possession if you analyze offenses on a points per possession basis. You want to shoot lay-ups/dunks and 3’s to maximize efficiency.

    We don’t need to shorten the shot clock. Just allow offenses to function like they are supposed to.

    #84045

    xphoenix87
    Moderator

    rye – We’d never in a million years have gotten Auriemma to come here. He’s the greatest women’s basketball coach of all time, gets essentially any prospect he wants, is a favorite for the title almost every year, and is a god at UConn. Why would he ever leave?

    There are a lot of different factors that go into the way the college game is played now, and I believe I saw a recent article that scoring efficiency is actually on an upward trend in college basketball, it’s the speed of the game that is trending down (don’t have time to track it down at the moment though). I will say this though, if you want to make an argument about lack of fundamentals, Okafor’s a terrible example. Sure, he’s not a good free throw shooter. Outside of that though, he’s the most polished and skilled offensive big man in the college game in decades.

    #84052

    Tau837
    Participant

    He said the NBA was facving the same problems and they cleaned it up by having the refs call the game correctly.

    It’s easier to fix officiating in the NBA than in college basketball, due to smaller number of refs and single hierarchy.

    I think it makes sense to align many of the rules with the NBA. Why not make the 3PT line the same? (add 3 feet) It’s not like the college guys can’t hit it, they will adjust. There may be a temporary dip in shooting percentage, but it won’t last.

    Agree with moving the 3 point line out, which should create more driving and offensive flow and creativity.

    Shorten the shot clock. Going all the way to 24 with one leap might be too much, but dropping it down to 30 would be an improvement. Most possessions, more opportunities to score.

    I would support this, although the counter to this is that shorter possessions could just as easily result in even more forced bad shots at the end of the clock.

    In today’s game, teams often waste the first 20 seconds of every possession without actually threatening the defense. If you drop 5 seconds off the shot clock, it just means they will now waste the first 15 seconds instead of the first 20 seconds. It still will often come down to running offense in the final 15 seconds of the clock, which would be unaffected by this change.

    Still, more possessions would likely be an overall improvement.

    Widen the lane to 16 feet (+4 feet) and the restricted area (+1 foot). I think that can only help the game, it will make driving the basket more common.

    Agree with this. Better flow, more opportunities for creativity.

    And here’s a nutty idea, add a 4 point shot. Anything beyond half court is worth 4 points.

    Definitely do not support this.

    #84053

    ryebread
    Participant

    XP:

    There are three reasons that GA made sense to State:
    – $$$$$$$$$$: He signed an extension in 2013 that pays him less than we pay Gott.
    – The challenge of seeing if he could transition to the men’s game. I’m sure he’s heard how the women’s game doesn’t translate. I’m guessing he’d love a shot to prove that it could, particularly at the highest stage.
    – I suspect he’d have seen the unique opportunity that Yow as an AD would provide. She would be a woman AD (and he obviously knows how to work with women) whose sister was a legend in the women’s game, like he is. GA would have been one of the few coaches who took one of our liabilities and seemingly made it a strength.

    So, I thought then and still believe there were compelling reasons. The risk was that his abilities and tactics didn’t translate. The other risk is that he’d have to build new recruiting connections, but I think that could have been overcome more easily than most do. I think it’s far tougher to convince women to come to play for a man than it is to convince men to come and play for a man that used to coach women.

    I applaud his recent move.

    #84067

    Wulfpack
    Participant

    While I agree that there are some changes that can definitely improve the game, it is just wrong to suggest that people aren’t watching anymore.

    #84069

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    While I agree that there are some changes that can definitely improve the game, it is just wrong to suggest that people aren’t watching anymore.

    Especially compared to…well, you know.

    #84074

    13OT
    Participant

    Geno Auriemma is THE pompous ass of all college basketball coaches. As bad as I dislike Calipari and Boeheim, they aren’t even close to Geno in the arrogance department.

    I don’t even know where to start here, but let’s note first and foremost that if there’s a more boring sport to watch than women’s college basketball, other than the NBA, I haven’t seen it. At least the women could dress more like their volleyball counterparts do; this might attract more attention than their hideous present uniforms do.

    The shot clock, to me anyway, has ruined college basketball, especially for the women. It’s no longer a game of coaching and skill but rather a game of sheer talent. Women’s basketball, with its 30-second shot clock, assures only the most talented teams are rewarded (with all 4 #1 seeds in this years women’s FF). Who in hell cares to watch women’s college ball anymore? UConn is at a level above everyone else due to cornering all the talent, and a handful of teams are at the next level, with the rest of the field light years behind. The truth is, most women college b-ball players simply can’t perform at a high level given the speed with which they’re required to do it in today’s game. And the lower you go in the divisions, the worse it gets.

    If the NCAA really cares about it’s women’s games, they should quit trying to go head-to-head with the men’s NCAAT each year. The women need to get their post-season going several weeks ahead of the men so that somebody will actually watch. The last thing I care to see is a women’s game after 4 straight days of the men’s NCAAT. Just like my high school days when both the girls and boys teams played on Tuesday and Friday nights, there was a good reason they put the women’s games first.

    It seems the men’s college game is headed for an even shorter shot clock, which will make it more like the NBA. Since the men got only 3 of the 4 #1 seeds to Indy this time, maybe the NCAA geniuses will figure that a 24-second shot clock will insure that only the gorillas will rule the jungles if they can just speed things up.

    The more the college game moves closer to the NBA, the worse it gets.

    #84075

    wolfmanmat
    Participant

    Ironic that Geno is commenting on mens college ball. Mens college ball has never been more popular but can use a change…particularly shot clock. But, Geno doesnt acknowledge what is wrong with womens basketball. His team is basically what is wrong with womens basketball. He should comment on womens basketball which is struggling and leave the men alone.

    #84076

    fullmoon1
    Participant

    He brings some good points however his demenor detracts from what he is trying to say. I usually see a few women’s games a year and overall I would say they are more fundamentally sound. It may not be as exciting but it’s easier to watch.

    #84085

    PackerInRussia
    Participant

    Geno Auriemma calls men’s college basketball a joke…on April Fool’s Day. Fitting.

    #84095

    GoPack83
    Participant

    “It’s no longer a game of coaching and skill but rather a game of sheer talent.”

    First of all, skill and talent are synonyms so I am not sure why you would rather the game be about one than the other, but to each their own. And secondly, if you would look beyond the seed you would see that each of the final four teams has a hall of fame coach, so yeah I would say that coaching still pays a large roll in men’s basketball.

    And to your comment about the women’s final four being all #1 seeds, that is simply because the talent pool is not that deep. Mid-majors consistently produce NBA talent in the men’s league because the talent pool is so deep and that just doesn’t happen in womens college basketball.

    I know we can all remember the 103-100 NC State – Maryland ACC Tourney game as an example of the non shot clock era but don’t forget about the 14-12 games during that time as well.

    #84099

    Texpack
    Participant

    I was at State from ’79-’84 so I saw scoring drop into the 40’s & 50’s which led to the birth of the shot clock and three point shot.

    Holding the ball was a strategy that was tried from time to time by teams that were severely out manned. It rarely actually worked, but it did produce games like the ’68 ACC Tourney semi-finals between Duke and State.

    The fact that the greatest players almost never play three years of college ball, much less four, has a lot to do with the deterioration in the quality of the college game.

    Kill hand checking and grabbing cutters. I’m not opposed to a wider lane and and international three point line, but the shot clock is fine at 35 seconds. The officials have lost control of the game and until they call the game like it was meant to be called, a 12 second shot clock wouldn’t help.

    #84117

    highstick
    Participant

    College basketball is a joke for many reasons which have been enumerated…Which is why I don’t get excited about college basketball anymore. It is not the same game(even if dunking had been allowed) that David Thompson played and is what my generation grew up with…Dumbed down for the “athletic types” that couldn’t play the game within the rules and fans that only liked to watch “high flying dunking”.

    Can I say Professional Wrestling versus College Wrestling? Which one is real and which one is to draw fans? NASCAR used to be interesting too until Brian France and his brother in law showed up…

    "Whomp 'em, Up, Side the Head"!

    #84118

    highstick
    Participant

    Knights up 7-1…3 Home runs~~~

    "Whomp 'em, Up, Side the Head"!

    #84124

    Wulfpack
    Participant

    There is no question that there are issues with the game. That includes the pros. Our basketball system is failing us. The kids don’t know the fundamentals and team play is not emphasized. Europe is definitely catching up quickly.

    I heard Frank Martin on the radio recently and he said he’s having to teach his college players the fundamentals the way he did as a JV coach back in the day.

    However, the joke’s on Geno here. If men’s college basketball is a joke, then what is the women’s game? It’s like watching paint dry, and very predictable.

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