Low scoring the new normal in college basketball

There are lots of things to look forward to in college basketball, but high-scoring games isn’t one of them. According to kenpom.com, scoring in college basketball is on pace to be the lowest it has been since 1952.

Final scores like Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36 on Nov. 30 or the 54-47 Miami-Maryland snoozer Jan. 13 are good predictors that the low-scoring trend isn’t going to change.

As of January 2013, teams were scoring 68.13 points, which is down from last season’s 68.73. So what’s the deal with teams not putting the ball in the bucket as much? Our panel of experts has a bevy of ideas, starting with what happens on the sidelines during timeouts.

“They coach every single dribble it seems like,” CBS Sports Network college basketball analyst Wally Szczerbiak said. “In the Georgetown game [against Syracuse], who played phenomenally but, 22 of [Georgetown’s] first 30 possessions they didn’t shoot the ball until there was five or less seconds on the shot clock. That is the definition of taking the air completely out of the ball.

“Then you have a New Mexico team [against Colorado] that puts up 91 points. They’re going up and down the floor. It’s much more fun to watch.”

Over-coaching can also be seen when coaches call five timeouts in the last 20 seconds of a tight game. Coaches are drawing up plays and scenarios that really should’ve been drawn up in practice. That sense of over-coaching has become so problematic that CBS Sports Network college basketball analyst Seth Davis asked for a timeout on timeouts at the end of games.

Over-coaching not only makes the game too structured and hard to watch, it also makes it difficult for players to do what they do best -- and that’s play the game.

“If I was a player I would want to play in a system where I was able to play basketball not football or rugby like some of the Big East and Big 10 schools do,” Szczerbiak said.

You can see successful hands-off coaching by looking at Duke’s system where they score 79 ppg or Indiana (No. 2 in ppg). Both programs allow players to make off-the-cuff decisions and flow with their play.

If the trend of over-coaching continues, we could see a new trend of underwhelming scoring.

What are some other reasons you think scoring is so low in college basketball today? Make your voice heard in the comment section below or on Twitter @Hoopsoncbs. You can also follow Adena Andrews on Twitter @adena_andrews.

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