New rules could benefit Iowa hoops

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ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery believes rules changes allowing more freedom of movement will help offenses score more points.

For a squad like his own, which competes against Augustana (Ill.) in an exhibition Sunday, the emphasis could have a greater benefit. Iowa's defense relies less on hand checks and his offense is based more on transition than pounding it inside to the post. But the rules also will add to foul calls and potentially slow down the game.

"What I don't want to see is touch fouls away from the basket and guys getting mugged off the ball, because that won't work," McCaffery said. "I've been saying for years we need to clean up those collisions at the rim. So I think that is brilliant what they're doing there, to protect the driver. Too many guys that were talented enough to go by their man and three guys falling down before the guy even got to the rim. So I think to clean up those collisions at the rim is a great thing."

The new rules prevent defenders from putting two hands or maintaining one hand on an opponent. Defenders can’t jab at an opponent’s forearm or use an arm bar to impede a dribbler’s progress. Hand checks will be called much more frequently as well. A secondary defender must be set for nearly a full second before absorbing a charge.

Iowa could gain an advantage with the changes. Junior forward Aaron White attempted the fifth-most free throws and sank the third-most in school history last year. Often White was hit by a secondary defender near the basket attempting to secure a charge. Sometimes the charge was called or the contact was ignored. Now in those situations, it's probable White will attempt more uncontested baskets, or he'll attempt more free throws.

"It's amazing to think about it if I can get to the free-throw line more than I did last year," White said. "I think these rules are going to help a little bit if they sustain for the full year.

"It's going to be tough in our league to sustain that rule, to be honest with you."

White said McCaffery preaches for his team to make more free throws than the opponent attempts. Iowa nearly did that last year. Iowa hit 655 free throws in 896 attempts. Its opponents shot 675 and knocked down 476. With the new rules, those numbers likely climb.

"Calling more fouls will help us, especially in the open floor when they try to keep you in front," White said.

Sunday, Iowa will see how the rules are enforced. McCaffery has discussed the changes with his players, but only through experience will they know how they work.

"I don’t know that we can obsess too much about that," McCaffery said. "We can show them, we can tell them about it, we can point it, we can bring refs in. But they’re going to have to go through it. They’re going to have to have to adjustment. You’ve got to move your feet. You can’t be holding."


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