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JTIII Frustrated with NCAA’s Increased Hand-Checking Fouls

by Chris Lingebach
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Georgetown men’s basketball coach John Thompson III has been frustrated with the NCAA rule changes aimed at increasing hand-checking fouls and better defining blocking-charging calls this season — he told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Friday.

The tweak came in response to the national scoring average falling to just 67.5 points in 2012-13, but teams that traditionally play a more physical brand of basketball, like Georgetown, have suffered growing pains in avoiding contact.

Georgetown hasn’t exactly been a beneficiary of the increased hand-checking fouls. The team falls around the middle of the pack in free throw attempts, tied with three other teams at 26.2 attempts per game.

Meanwhile, the Hoyas are struggling to avoid giving fouls more than most, getting called for 22.8 personal fouls per game — which ranks among the NCAA’s worst in basketball.

“Without a doubt,” said JTIII of noticing a difference in games. “You touch somebody, they’re calling a foul.”

Other teams have struggled to adjust as well. Shaka Smart, whose ‘havoc’ defense at VCU thrives off of creating chaos around the ball, has even had to bring officials into practice to help his players acclimate to the dramatic uptick in fouls called.

“The frustration I have with it, as they say, it’s supposed to be all across the board,” Thompson III said. “And so they’re calling it on the dribbler. If you touch the dribbler, they’re blowing the whistle. But they’re not calling it, as they should, I don’t think, on guys cutting and moving off-the-ball. But as with anything in life, they make an adjustment, sooner or later, players, the team, we make an adjustment, we go from there.”

Asked if he expects officials to lighten up on the foul calls when teams enter the thick of their conference schedule, Thompson III says they keep swearing they’re going to remain consistent.

“Our first game, I thought they stayed pretty consistent with it, but we’ll see,” he said. “All year, conventional wisdom has been on the side of what you just said. Like, that’s great the first couple games, but once we really get serious they’re not gonna call all these touch fouls. But I think they’ve been pretty consistent with it.”

The Hoyas should soon learn if they’ll be granted any leeway this season. Georgetown began its Big East conference schedule on New Year’s Eve, which, aside from a few non-conference games sprinkled in, won’t let up until the end of the season.

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