I think we've found college basketball's most vocal critic among coaches. At least in regard to the new fouling rules/points of emphasis for physical contact.
Larry Eustachy of Colorado State was well ahead of the trend back in mid-October, when he warned people of what was to come. Now, has every game been a foul fest? Certainly not. But some have been tough to watch -- while others have been high-scoring and not consistently filled with trips to the free-throw line. There's a balance there, and I totally get that the worser of it will draw more attention and headlines.
They should. College hoops has some warts to burn off its skin.
Colorado State has endured some pitfalls, though, and Eustachy this week let loose on what he feels. The Coloradoan reported on Eustachy's reaction following CSU's 82-74 loss at UTEP Wednesday night.
See, Eustachy got ejected with 15 minutes to go in the game. You pile that on top of a team loss, and of course the coach is going to have an acidic tongue.
Eustachy was upset about the officiating. His second technical came following the fifth foul called against backup center Marcus Holt, who was whistled battling for a rebound. Starting center Gerson Santo also fouled out, forcing the Rams (2-2) to play small in the post.
“It's about money. Let's face it, they want scoring up, which means they want more fans, so it's really not about the student-athlete and that's why I got into this profession—the student-athlete,” Eustachy said in his postgame radio interview. “I'm going to protect these guys who work so hard for me and this university. I'm going to protect them. If it means making some statements every now and then, I'm going to do it.
“(They called) touch fouls, which means you eliminated our two centers. Is that about the kids? Is that about the players? Is that what we're really in it for?”
There were 75 foul shots on 54 fouls. A relatively high number, no doubt, but far from what will be the worst of the worst in this year of transition in college hoops.
Eustachy has a point, and he's right. This is being done because the NCAA wants college basketball to have higher scoring and, eventually, become more fluid. When that happens, it will open up more opportunities for casual fans to embrace the game. That ties into interest -- and money. Of course. Some of the reaction with college hoops and officiating has been warranted; at other times, it's been a bit exaggerated.
But coaches will be coaches, and we're going to hear this with regularity this season. It's feeling like Eustachy will be the band leader in that regard.